Top tips on how to beat the email blues when you return to work – Bournemouth Echo 06 August 2013.
Email cyber crime attacks effect one in two UK citizens and on average £247 is stolen from bank accounts per successful attack. Moreover, the Government’s Intelligence Services estimate that UK businesses are subjected to roughly 1,000 cyber attacks every hour. Email is often the low hanging fruit for the cyber criminal, rather like leaving the car keys near the front door so that the criminal can fish them out. How well do you and your business manage email security? When was the last time you updated your email best practice policy and provided any email management training?
There are two types of email security breaches, those we cause by carelessly leaking confidential information and those where others attack us. This blog deals with the former. Common cause of leaking confidential information by email (and not just during vacation time) are through:
Here are five top tips to help you manage the risk of a breach of email security and hence open the back door to a cyber crime attack especially during the vacation period.
If possible try to take an email free vacation. We all need down time. Dealing with sensitive emails over the holiday in a relaxed state of mind is often when breaches of security happen as we are at our most vulnerable. If you feel you cannot swich off it might be because you are suffering from email addiction. Click here to check if you are suffering email addiction.
Top tips to reduce email overload. Let’s Talk Business – radio interview with Alan Coote. (about 1 minute 20 secs into the broadcast).
Tackling email overload can be a challenge. But not for some. From the e-babes ( Marsha Egan and myself), and as promised, here are fifty top tips from fifty top PAs and EAs at the recent Executive Secretary Live Conference organised by Lucy Brazier of Executive Secretary magazine.
Our thanks to all who contributed to our session on Taming the Email Tiger and to this blog with their top tips.
|“Action by, date” in the email subject line.
|Get out of the habit of checking email every 5 min!
|When writing an email, the last thing I fill out is the “to” or “cc” field, so in case I hit send button too early.
|How do you send the calendar schedule as part of the email – only showing busy/free times?
|Close the inbox to look at when you choose to – but set a ‘new item alert’ for those from the remotely working executive and train the executive!
|Read Marsha’s book!
|The knowledge that sending each email costs more global energy and therefore causes more environmental damage than sending a letter. (It’s because of location of server (?), power they use etc to process) makes me cut the number of emails I send.
|To reduce ‘cc’ traffic when you have actioned emails on behalf of your director, change the subject line to include an eye catching statement such as (C have actioned P). Your boss can then just delete/move on to the next email!
|When emailing external people: include the company’s name in the beginning of the subject line so they immediately know who they are being contacted by.
|Colour code emails from most senior people.
|It is easy for me to open emails which I am going to do during the day, others I stay unread for another day. Open emails help me to see information and after their end I close them. So the goal is not to have open email after work day.
|Turn off emails that go to two places, eg yours and shared mailbox – one place = read once!
|I indicate in subject list of the box what action I have taken or what needs doing.
|Use categories, throw out the ones in outlook and create your own headings that relate to your role – invaluable.
|Take an electronic day off with your day off (no email especially).
|Delete emails which don’t have any importance.
|Have a standard closure in your signature.
|Using quick parts created in email, ie requesting travel arrangements, employee movements, colour code emails to identify Directors.
|Don’t check/reply to emails out of office hours or people become to expect you to be working and contactable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
|Drag emails into tasks to set deadlines.
|Use Outlook categories when you drag and drop your inbox to action folders. So when you plan your day and it’s time to action ‘travel’ all travel emails are categorised in one place in outlook.
|Write your email content and put the recipient name in last to avoid sending it prematurely.
|When I check the mail I like to put the red flag and have the mail in to do list.
|Don’t ping pong in emails for diary dates. I set up dates in doodle poll and send a link for all recipients to advise on their availability via doodle poll (www.doodle.com)
|Put useful links either on notes, or into quick parts. Colourise inbox against your VIPs mails and use quick one click to action type of action in colour.
|The control delete buttons so emails go completely rather than just into your deleted items. Also block sender so that goes into junk email.
|For conferences/questions from participants: I pre-prepare std/route responses (we tend to have same Q’s all the time!) in order and then copy & paste and adjust as required. This saves a lot of time for our big meetings!
|Turn off email notifications – has been my biggest time saver.
|Don’t send emails outside off office hours. People read them on their smart phones and they appear ‘read’ in the computer mailboxes so they forget to respond.
|Move your message to your task list.
|For people working in global organisations, set up the delay send option so that your emails don’t get sent until their working hours. Also works well for people who do emails over weekend. It means that people with phones etc don’t feel the need to answer the emails in the evenings/weekends in response to their boss’s email. Also create a folder for meeting request and then set up a rule to send them all to the folder.
|The delete button for unsolicited sales emails that do not interest me within 5 seconds.
|Direct sorting into folders: personal/family & friends; boss, management group; newsletters
|Colour code categories: travel required, invoices, expenses, to do, meeting set up, event, to follow
|I’ve had my notifications turned off for a few months now – it’s been a great stress management tool. I do have a rule that my manager’s emails have a pop up notification – this allows me to prioritise his request over other actions. This works when if it’s something urgent. PS Luckily my manager has a wonderful email etiquette – so the emails form him are mostly actions, those that need to get done fairly quickly.
|Attachments – copy and paste basic attachments into body of text – so it is easier to read as opposed to opening item up.
|My tip is: never answer first on emails where you are in cc, but your response is required. Wait for person who is in ‘to’ field answer and then, if needed, do it yourself. Sure that the answer can hugely change!
|Sending a networking directory excel file as a link (1) share excel workbook, then close (2) right hand click on file name on network drive and ‘create short’ (3) after shortcut created, right hand click, select send as email (4) when opened by receiver, changes can be (?) to file and can be ‘saved’ (don’t do save as). Works with Lotus Notes and can only be ?? if users and recipients have access to network drive/disc (?). Set up a rule on outlook or lotus notes that emails ‘from’ or with certain subject goes directly into a named folder, eg flight bookings.
|I actually put emails in calendar entries to get them out of my inbox.
|Use rules on Outlook for flyers, newsletters, travel to go to the named folder.
|When I am chasing information for Director’s report which I have a time constraint on, I use the flag in outlook, which puts an alert in their inbox that I need the info by a certain date/time.
|Attend a talk given by Marsha and Monica!
|Use flags and reminders – action/discuss with boss. But keep in inbox so will continue with this but more out of inbox.
|Switching off email notifications, meaning less distractions. Create rules – emails I’m cc’d in automatically in one folder, out-of-office go into another.
|Use of draft box for important emails. Write, leave for a few minutes, check again before sending.
|I’ve created a to-do-folder and put every email in, when I am going to fulfill the task I move it back to the empty inbox in order that I can see this email.
|Print emails that need to be actioned and they can be added as a physical to do.
|Use your OOO to manage expectations about when to expect a reply.
|Use colour coding for email to be actioned.
Click here ExecSecLive 2013 tips to download as a pdf.
Do you have a tip on either how to control email overload or corporate email etiquette that we have not yet published?
The issue surfaces as something like …
“I invite clients to have lunch and I don’t hear back from them.” “I guess this means they really aren’t interested in getting together.”
Do you really think that’s true? Do your clients and prospects not want to talk to you? You do offer value added services that improve revenues or cut costs don’t you? Or do the services reduce risks, improve client satisfaction or improve productivity? Maybe they just make the client compliant in some way? Why would they not want to see you? Wouldn’t you see someone who could do that for you?
Now ask yourself this question. Do you have unanswered e-mails in your inbox? Email overload is a problem for most business people.
I know I do! People are very very busy. Their inboxes are full of e-mails that range from urgent/important to annoying /unimportant. Given that reality, returning your e-mail may just not be as high a priority for them as getting a response to that e-mail is to you. A different slant on your email etiquette can help.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get more responses to your invitations.
1. Ask again. One or two non-responses do not make a rejection.
2. Make a call instead of e-mailing (and leave a really good voice mail if you don’t speak to them ).
3. Try at a different time of day. Their schedule may be less frantic on Friday afternoon than on Monday morning. After hours may be a better time than the middle of the day. Early better for them than late.
4. Make your invitation VERY specific. Please don’t write something like “Let’s have lunch soon,”. Much better to ask “Are you available for lunch on Monday, April 22 or Wednesday April 24.” Alternatively, give them a window of time for a phone call — the morning of the 19th or the afternoon of the 25th . If they’re not available on the dates you suggest, ask them specifically to counter with dates or times they are available.
5. Consider inviting them to something other than lunch. Lots of people tend to eat lunch at their desk. Suggest breakfast. How about dropping by their office for 15 minutes and bringing along their favorite Starbucks order? Maybe an early evening phone or Skype meeting? Connecting at a conference you both plan to attend?
Rob Biggin is the founder of Rainmaker Coaching, leaders in business coaching and mentoring to improve business performance. This was originally posted on his blog and we thank Rob for sharing it with us.