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.
Wednesday March 2nd, 2016, 9:31 pm
One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.
Are you distracted by each and every new email as it arrives in your inbox? Over the last few weeks it amazed us as to how many people still have all those new email alerts turned on. The reasons why range from ‘we are acting for clients in the middle of a merger’ to ‘my boss will ask for more coffee during a meeting’. The latter might just be valid, but and it’s a big but, often better decisions are made given a little extra time and space to think. Ever looked back and thought if only?
As to the second reason, can the boss not phone, walk to their PAs office? Would not any self respecting PA check on such matters during important meetings?
We live in an age of instant gratification so the faster we reply the better we feel. Or do we? Constant distractions have been shown irrevocably to reduce our performance. Moreover our brain becomes re-wired to think tactically and we lose the ability to think strategically. This is one of the first major challenges facing Sophie in Dr Seeley’s new book Taking Control of Your Inbox. Max the email genie from the Clean Inbox Kingdom provide some solutions.
- Turn off all those wretched new email alerts from the ding dong to the floating box. Stay focused for 20 to 30 minutes then review the inbox. For Outlook users go to File/Options/Mail. Under the Message arrival block, uncheck all the boxes. Click OK.
- Apply either the Pomodoro or Swiss Cheese Approach when you do switch to dealing with email. In each case it’s about identifying what is really important and dealing with those emails then returning to the task in hand.
- Manage sender’s expectations. Tell them when you will respond.
- Set aside specific time to deal with the rest of the emails.
- If needs be use your Out of Office message to buy time when dealing with an important task which requires your undivided attention.
Clients who have switched off all the new email alerts are always amazed at how much more they achieve in a day. As one client said last week – ‘you made me realise that the inbox is no more than a post box. When ready I will go and see that the postman has for me’.
For more help to take control of your day why not invest in a copy of Taking Control of Your Inbox (and life)?
Tags: Clean Inbox, Daniel Goleman, Dr Seeley, New email, out of office message, PA, Pomodoro, Swiss Cheese, Taking Control of Your Inbox
Wednesday March 2nd, 2016, 6:45 pm
Two must reads for all managers and directors concerned with effective use of technology (and especially email) to improve the bottom line of their business regardless of size.
- The billion $ e-con. A spine chilling article showing how cyber criminals set-up fake email addresses especially in the name of a company CEO. These are then used to send emails purporting to come from the CEO/MD but which in reality contain malware.
2. Is technology really helping us get more done? Twenty years ago it was predicted that new technology would help improve productivity. Now suffering acute email overload and swamped with social media alerts, most office workers feel far less effective. What went wrong? Metcalfe’s law says that value of technology increases with the square of the number of users. But the dark side of this law posits that as the cost of communications decreases the number of interactions increases exponentially as does the time to process them. Have we reached the tipping point?
And for those responsible for well-being
3. The best temperature for a good night’s sleep. The article reinforces the importance of switching off all digital and mobile devices too. A subject we have discussed before.
For the technology minded readers
4. Smartphone typing apps – a review of some of the more useful app and especially in the light of Microsoft’s take over of SwiftKey. For Android users only see this CNET review.
Remember though that using a smartphone does not excuse you from sending email PEARLS rather than lead balloons which can destroy you and your business.
Tags: cyber crime, email overload, Email PEARLS, Productivity, well being
Tuesday February 2nd, 2016, 4:04 pm
Five years ago the CBI complained school leaver’s low level of literacy skills. More recently poor English skills have been cited as more damaging to business than the digital divide. Poorly structured emails, and especially long rambling ones remain the bane of many people’s lives and particularly those who pick up their emails on mobile devices and/or suffering from chronic email overload.
‘Pen your Email in Simple Language’ is the seventh commandment of our Smart Email Management charter but clearly an aspect of email etiquette which is frequently ignored. Yet it save times and reduces the potential for misunderstanding. If you do not receive a response to an email, it is often not so much because the recipient is busy but because you have written it poorly.
George Orwell laid out six rules for effective writing, which have served many authors.
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech, which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.
These rules are as relevant now as when he wrote them over sixty years ago. In the digital age I add a seventh rule – start an email with a one sentence executive summary of what the email is about and what action is expected.
What email etiquette tips can you offer for ensuring you send the right message right first time by penning your email in plain language?
Tags: CBI, Counter Currents, email etiquette, email management, George Orwell
Tuesday February 2nd, 2016, 3:07 pm
Three themes stood out over the past few weeks: the obvious one of new year’s resolutions and predictions; our skill or lack of it with the English language and of course the Court of Human Rights ruling in favour of an employer who monitored an employee’s personal emails.
2016 predictions and resolutions
- Set goals rather than resolutions. Did you set yourself up for failure just a week into the new year by setting a series of new year’s resolutions which within a week you had broken? Well it turns out that it is better to establish some SMART goals against which we can monitor our progress. It’s never too late to re-calibrate and set new goals.
- Ten goals for the IT department for 2016. The technology press abounded with hot tips. This was not so much about what the future would look like, but how you can change hearts and mind during 2016 to really exploit the power of IT to improve performance.
- Cyber crime predictions for 2016. There is little doubt that cyber crime will continue to rise in the foreseeable future and that the cyber criminals may continue to have the upper hand, but maybe not for ever. This article underlines the need to be forever vigilant especially using mobile devices.
How clearly do you communicate?
- The corporate guff awards for 2015. As always perhaps the funniest article of the month, when FT Assistant Editor Lucy Kellaway hands out her awards for the biggest load of waffle written over the past twelve month. It’s worth the time to set up a free FT.com account just to access her Guffipedia. There are wonderful phrases like ‘We will deepen our leadership of food-to-go’, meaning make better value sandwiches.
- English deficit causes more harm than the digital divide. A controversial article by Michael Shapinker again in the FT about the impact of the lack of good skills in English can harm the economy.
- Do you write email pearls or lead balloons? In keeping with the above two articles, a Mesmo Consultancy blog on using good email etiquette to send the right message right first time rather than writing an email which might just start another email media disaster.
Monitoring employee’s personal emails
- Are you stealing the company’s broadband? Recently the European Court of Human Rights ruled against an employee who protested that his company was monitoring his use of the company’s email system for his personal use. A Mesmo consultancy blog on the pros and cons of this ruling and implications for the future of both corporate email etiquette and email overload.
Tags: corporate email etiquette, corporate email overload, cyber crime, Lucy Kellaway, Mesmo Consultancy, SMART goals
Monday February 1st, 2016, 10:23 am
Email PEARLS for brilliant email etiquette
Are your emails PEARLS designed to send the right message right first time or lead balloons which might lead to an impending email disaster?
- P PROPERLY laid out
- E Written in plain ENGLISH
- A Have an ACCURATE subject line
- R RELATE to work or business
- L LESS than half a screen in length
- S About a SINGLE topic
PEARLS are good corporate email etiquette and will enhance your digital dress code just like real ones can add a touch of glamour to anything from jeans to haute couture.
Click here to check your email etiquette.
Tags: corporate email etiquette, email etiquette, Email PERALS