Blogs - Archive

Top tips from Mesmo Consultancy (and Associates) on how to save time and improve business and personal performance by ‘Taking Control of your Inbox’ and using proper business email etiquette.

Will You have an email detox this vacation?

Friday July 17th, 2015, 10:29 am

This time of year sparks the age old debate about whether you should or shouldn’t stay connected to email when on leave. Recent studies have confirmed that email is the biggest drain on business people’s performance. So when it comes to holidays, those concerned with their own well being or that of their employees – should shout ‘Get a life’, disconnect as we all need time to discharge and recharge our batteries properly.

Last year Daimler introduced an email programme which automatically deletes all employees’ emails whilst they are on leave. Digital detox holidays are now on offer. When you arrive at your hotel you can elect to have all Wi-Fi connections disconnected.  In the USA some psychiatrists have now suggested that internet addiction should be treated as a psychiatric disorder.

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Technology alone will not cure email overload despite some software providers claims. The real cure lies in changing our email behaviour. It is about re-thinking how we use email and curing what has become the hidden disease of 21st century working life – email addiction. It’s about learning how to use and manage our time and accept that it is OK to disconnect.

Even without such support, we can all self-impose other strategies including an email black-out.  This  will help while we are away  and when we come back from leave.  The benefit of your time away from the office it is vital to learn to how to wean yourself off your email/internet fix. If you can stop logging on or taking calls, you will relax more quickly and your friends and family will appreciate your undivided attention. You and they are worth it!

If you find it hard to disconnect then at least limit the distractions.

  1. Switch of all you email feeds and at the very least the office one.  Remember we are all dispensable at the end  of the day!
  2. Only log on once/twice a day and preferably at the end of the day – so you don’t ruin everyone else’s day.   Alternatively wait until the last day. Reward yourself for every day you do not log in.

 

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Does deleting emails protect your professional image?

Monday June 22nd, 2015, 6:30 pm

Hilary Clinton used a personal email account rather than her White House one. Now 10 Downing Street admits to automatically deleting its emails after 90 days. As a result some are suggesting that instant electronic messaging systems which self-destruct are the solution like SnapChat and Slack. But are they?

For any technology to succeed and add value to the business, requires that users are properly trained. Sadly though, normally 80% of our time and budget is spent on the technology and its implementation and only 20% on providing the user with adequate skills to use it properly.

How many of you have ever been educated to mange your use of email, little own deploy good email etiquette which would reduce the need to email ping-pong and email gaffs. In Mesmo Consultancy’s experiences it is less that 20%. So little wonder we often find ourselves confronted with consequences of an email we wish we had never sent.

Email disasters

Email disasters

It is naive to think that we can delete an email. Once sent it is there for ever, either stored on a server as News International and Sony Corporation found to their dismay, or still in the recipient’s inbox. Far better is to adopt slow and quiet email. Think before hitting send. Reflect and ask yourself ‘what if someone found this email’.

Without proper training and a change in organisational culture instant electronic messaging communications systems (like Slack and SnapChat) will be doomed to the same failure and disasters as our current version of email.

Need help to change your email culture to make it work for, rather than against you?  Call Mesmo Consultancy to hear how our email training has has helped others.  Alternatively, watch our video on email etiquette.

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Books of note

Sunday June 7th, 2015, 5:16 pm

June books of note

June books of note

Five books caught our attention over the last few weeks.

  1. The Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg.  A 28 day plan to reduce stress and induce a calmer approach to life.  It’s relatively jargon free and easy to follow.  Does it work?  Ask us next month!
  2. It’s All in Your Head:True Stories of Imaginary Illness by Suzanne O’Sullivan.  A very controversial book, but provides plenty of food for thought about how we cope with illness and especially some illnesses which some like O’Sullivan, feel are psychosomatic.
  3. The Weather Experiment by Peter Moore.  Part history, part thriller.  The story of the development of weather forecasting techniques and especially the barometer.
  4. A Curious Friendship by Anna Thomasson.  The story of the relationship between the blue stocking Edith Oliver and bright young thing Rex Whistler.  Again a historical drama which is engrossing if not a little long.
  5. Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung: A companion by Stewart Spencer and Barry Millington.  OMG you may well say.  This is because one of the team is going to hear The Ring later this year.

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June articles of note – impact of email overload on well-being

Sunday June 7th, 2015, 4:49 pm

There was a mixed bag last month, comprising yet again email overload and well-being, email scandals, and fonts in relation to email etiquette.

Well-being and email overload.

There have been several studies and hence articles on the importance of good posture when sitting at your PC/mobile device and not sitting for too long.    Indeed this was underpinned when a client spoke of needing to see an osteopath because of reading their emails on their laptop whist sitting on an office sofa.  Suffice to say the employer is paying for their back treatment. Three articles of note on this topic.Typewritter

1) Get out of your chair if you want to stay healthy.  We are being urged to spend more time standing up and walking and talking instead of email and phoning.

2) I am a sitting addict.  Excellent advice of use of standing desks.

3) Back pain is rising sharply. Results of a recent survey by the British Chiropractic Association reveal that this is a result of our sedentary life style (at work and home).

How often do we write about looking outside the inbox and talking rather than emails and especially within a five desk radius?

Email scandal of the month

4) Leaked email from the Bank of England.  A lesson in email etiquette as they send highly confidential information to the wrong recipient!

What do we always say about checking it’s the right Jane Smith?

5) The email habits of ten successful CEOs.  These range from Jeff Bezos to Arianna Huffington.  Techniques include no emails for half an hour before bed, prioritising and insisting that the sender puts a clear indication of when action is needed.  Some interesting lessons.  The article also highlights some sad soles who rise very early to deal with their email.

Wonder why they just don’t try to reduce the email overload per se?

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Email etiquette – listen

Sunday June 7th, 2015, 3:25 pm

Michael Einstein of Email Overload Solutions recently wrote about listening properly before replying.   For us at Mesmo Consultancy this so resonated with all we say about think before hitting send we wanted to share it with you (and for which he gave us permission).

Listening is a critical part of communication. It is an activity many people take for granted yet perform quite poorly.  Active listening can help greatly improve your communication with others.

It is very easy to “hear” but can be very difficult to actually “listen”. Have you ever found yourself planning a response to someone before they even finished speaking?

Has listening just become a game of waiting for the time for when someone stops speaking so that you can start talking yourself? This is where active listening can be improve your communication abilities. Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change”, wisely said:

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply”.

How many time have you hit send before you have really read and thought through what the sender is saying?   Here are Mesmo Consultancy’s top five tips to improve your email listening and communication skills.

Email listening

Email listening

  1. Practice slow and quiet email etiquette. Wait at least five minutes before replying to an email and if needs be re-read the email.
  2. Check that you have read to the end of the email.
  3. Review your response before hitting send and ensure you have answered all the questions/points raised.
  4. Avoid complex words and long sentences which others may not understand.
  5. Use the 3S’s of email communications:  Structured: Simple words: Succinct.

Click here to check your personal email etiquette.  For more help on listening well to improve business email communications contact us about our Brilliant Email workshops and masterclasses.

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