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.

Creating a More Effective Email Communications Culture: Guest blog by David Grossman

Friday January 24th, 2014, 4:12 pm

In the final part of this series of interview with David Grossman, he reviews what are the barriers and drivers to creating a more effective email communications culture.

Monica: What do you see as the principle issues restricting the use of email within organizations?

David: Limiting email and reducing abuses is a step in the right direction, especially for middle managers.

We conducted research of 1,100 executives, senior leaders, managers, and employees on their perceptions of e-mail.

Our 2012 email perception study, “Enough Already! Stop Bad Email,” shows that when it comes to email overload, it’s the middle managers who feel the most pain:

  • Middle managers typically spend 100 hours (6,000 minutes) a year on irrelevant email
  • They are 50 percent more likely to access work email outside of normal business hours
  • 30 percent experience work-life balance issues
  • 20 percent fear missing relevant information
  • 21 percent experience stress

And yet, they don’t want their ability to use email taken away or even interrupted.  83 percent of middle managers agree that email is an effective and necessary communication tool, and only 15 percent said that limiting email during normal business hours would be very effective. Our research suggests that to melt the iceberg that is the “Frozen Middle,” companies need to do a few things:

  • realize that the responsibility to improve is at the individual and organizational levels
  • agree on email expectations and get leadership in board
  • promote e-tiquette to reduce overload

All that said, limiting email and stopping abuses isn’t the ultimate solution to improving employee engagement, work-life balance, and productivity. Really, it’s a Band-Aid because the much larger issue is about ineffective communications inside organizations today, which is negatively affecting business results.  That means leadership needs to assess and improve the overall communication system for the organization.

Monica: How can we improve this situation – top three tips.

David:

  1. First, determine whether email is the right communication tool: As you assess whether email is the right vehicle, consider its limitations and your strategy for getting feedback. Use email when you need to provide one or multiple audiences with a brief status update in the body of a message, deliver a longer message or information as an attachment to your intended receivers, or prompt the receiver(s) to view web-based content or other content that’s attached. Don’t use email to give bad news or to give complex, detailed or lengthy information or instructions.
  2. Commit to using email more effectively oneself: I’m a believer that the number of emails one receives is proportional to the number of emails one sends. Before you send, ask yourself, “Should my message be communicated face-to-face or voice-to-voice instead?” Make sure your email is relevant, and ask “Is the information pertinent to my recipient? Do they really need to read my message?”
  3. Coach others when they’re not using email effectively: Could people in your organization benefit from picking up the phone instead of using email? Are their emails lacking necessary context or calls to action? Coach them. When you commit to using email more effectively and help others do the same, you can not only take steps to conquering email overload, but also improve the flow of communication within your entire organization.

For more information on email overload, its effects on the frozen middle, and additional tips, visit our Email Research and Resource Center.

David Grossman, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA helps leaders drive productivity and get the results they want through authentic and courageous leadership communication, a sought-after speaker and advisor to Fortune 500 leaders. A two-time author, David is CEO of The Grossman Group, an award-winning Chicago-based strategic leadership development and internal communication consultancy; clients include: DuPont Pioneer, Lockheed Martin, McDonald’s, Motel 6 and Tyco, to name a few.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Read this post... | Comment on this post

Effective Email Etiquette to Improve Email Communication: Guest post from David Grossman

Friday January 24th, 2014, 10:48 am

In the second part of our discussions, David Grossman talked through key ways to improve email communications, both in terms of how and what your write (email etiquette) and making you email software work for you.  All of this will again help you keep a clean inbox  (and maybe even an empty inbox).

Monica: Given that email is an effective communications tool – how can we make better use of it?

David: Use email only when it’s the most appropriate vehicle for your communication.  These situations include when you need to:

  • Summarize information, as a follow-up to a conversation
  • Provide directional, important and timely information
  • Share detailed information and data
  • Ensure there’s a record of your communication
  • Direct the receiver to an online source for more information
  • Provide brief status updates

Additionally, to keep your inbox clean, consider these strategies, along with the many others that were shared this week:

  • Set up rules, filters or labels
  • Delete regularly
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters
  • Clean up your contacts
  • Create a “read later” folder for nonessential emails

As you experiment with what works for you, you’ll begin to create new habits that will tame the email monster.

Click here to benchmark your email etiquette using Mesmo Consultancy’s free on-line tools. To gauge  how well you use Outlook click here.

In part three David talks about how to improve the organisational email culture.

David Grossman, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA helps leaders drive productivity and get the results they want through authentic and courageous leadership communication, a sought-after speaker and advisor to Fortune 500 leaders. A two-time author, David is CEO of The Grossman Group, an award-winning Chicago-based strategic leadership development and internal communication consultancy; clients include: DuPont Pioneer, Lockheed Martin, McDonald’s, Motel 6 and Tyco, to name a few.

Tags: , , , , ,

Read this post... | Comment on this post

How effective is email for communications? Guest Blog from David Grossman

Thursday January 23rd, 2014, 9:02 pm

As part of the 7th International Clean Out Your Inbox Week, I was privileged to work with David Grossman CEO and founder of the Grossman Group leaders in strategic leadership and internal communication.  This is the first of three discussions we had by a variety of media (phone, email etc).

Monica: Just how effective do you feel email is as a communications tool?

David: Email can be a highly effective communications tool, if used properly.  That’s a big “if.”  It’s a vehicle we love to hate, and many of us struggle with e-tiquette.  Here are the most common abuses and bad habits that get in the way:

  • Selecting email as the wrong method of communication
  • Poorly written emails
  • Sending irrelevant information
  • Engaging in too much back-and-forth when a phone call would solve the issue
  • Hiding behind email for tough conversations
  • No call-to-action
  • Using “reply all” liberally
  • CC’ing unnecessarily
  • Saying something in email you wouldn’t want to read in the newspaper

No wonder email gets a bad rap.  Very few of us can say that we haven’t committed at least one of the sins above.  We’re part of the problem, and also can be part of the solution.

The second interview reviews how we can make our email communications more effective and at the same time reduce the volume of email overload.

David Grossman, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA helps leaders drive productivity and get the results they want through authentic and courageous leadership communication, a sought-after speaker and advisor to Fortune 500 leaders. A two-time author, David is CEO of The Grossman Group, an award-winning Chicago-based strategic leadership development and internal communication consultancy; clients include: DuPont Pioneer, Lockheed Martin, McDonald’s, Motel 6 and Tyco, to name a few.

Tags: , , , , ,

Read this post... | Comment on this post

Changing email behaviour – guest interview with Nathan Zeldes

Thursday January 23rd, 2014, 3:15 pm

Nathan

Nathan Zeldes

How do you change email behaviour (in organisations and individuals)?  Listen to this insightful interview with Nathan Zeldes on Changing Email Culture which we have just recorded as part of the 7th International Clean Out Your Inbox week.

As Nathan tells us, change is an ongoing process and it’s important to not only keep reminding people what is email best practice for your culture but also make sure you educate your new joiners.  Technology too can help as Nathan explains, and he should know having just compiled the definitive guide of over 150 solutions available for tackling information overload (and email overload).

Nathan is also Chairman of the Information Overload Research Group

Click here for more information on Nathan Zeldes.

 

For  more resources

Twitter_logo_blueFollow me on Twitter using #cleaninbox.

Facebook-Buttons-1-10-Join our Facebook page.

Tags: , , ,

Read this post... | Comment on this post

Quiet and Slow to Reduce Email Overload in 2014

Monday January 6th, 2014, 10:30 am

How did you spend the holiday period?  Were you deluged with emails on your return to work? I spent my time de-cluttering, not just my inbox but paper files, desk drawers, cupboards, you name it.  It’s amazing that I am still here!  There was also time to reflect on priorities and how best to manage my time and resources in 2014.   At the end of 2013 the #HBRogues introduced me to ‘Quiet‘ by Susan Cain.  A book on how naturally quiet people operate very successfully in the very noisy world in which we live.  Being a noisy person this gave me much food for thought.  What if I were a little quieter?  How does one create space for others to talk?  Reading ‘Quiet’ prompted me re-visit ‘In Praise of Slow‘ by Carl Honore.  Both have helped me formulate some work related new years resolutions which will also hopefully spill over in to my private life.   Here are my five new years resolutions.

Work specific

  1. Think (long and hard) before saying ‘yes’ so that I don’t over commit and then have to re-jig my schedule to fit in everything.
  2. Write shorter quieter emails and avoid replying to emails either late at night or in haste especially when cross.
  3. Reduce the number of times I check my emails on my iphone, instead use the time away from the office to think and soak up the surroundings (be they work or social).
  4. Set aside one afternoon a week which is email, social media and meeting free.
  5. Be more visual (and creative) and learn to use Infographics instead of so many words.

Personal

  1. Switch off by 11.00 pm and follow my own medicine as per my recent post on The Huffington Post.
  2. Notch my golf handicap down a couple more points.
  3. Make time to read one good book a month.
  4. Learn more about wine through attending some courses.
  5. Improve my mindfulness techniques in order to shut out the noise and quieten my brain especially late at night.

Dare to share – what is your number one new year’s resolution?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Read this post... | 1 comment