Showing items tagged with "email etiquette" - 62 found.

Email it’s role in 2012

Posted Tuesday January 3rd, 2012, 11:48 am by

2012 and the future of email.  Where will email stand as a communications channel in 2012?  Two events at the end of 2011 sparked many to speculate that we maybe witnessing the beginning of the end for email. First, the recent edict by Thierry Breton (Altos CEO) to ban the use of email for internal communications.   Second, was VW’s union negotiation to stop automatically sending emails to Blackberry devices after the working hours.

But are these either simply attempts to cover up much deeper cultural and management issues or is this really the beginning of the end for email?  Have we reached a tipping point where newer channels will take over from email?  Alternatively, will email overload continue to dominate and with it the added stress of email addiction?

It helps to look at the numbers.  For example, Mark Brownlow estimates that email is more popular than Elvis, the Beatles and chocolate but not sex.  If we printed every non spam email, in just under two hours we would have enough paper to cover the USA continent.  If all the email accounts were people, the email population would be 2.3 times the size of China.

Radicati the US research group estimate that a typical business user now receive and send on average 110 emails per day.  Overall we send about 394 billion emails per day and that is predicted to rise to nearly double by 2013.

Basex another US market research group estimate that we spend half our day simply processing emails and that in the USA information overload (derived from email overload) costs US business 28 billion lost hours of productivity per year.  They estimate that it costs about $100 to produce a sheet of A4.

Nearer home Mesmo Consultancy’s own analysis reveals that only a fifth of people need more than 75% of the emails they receive.  Mesmo Consultancy finds that business users waste on average one hour per day through email overload and email misuse (eg poor email etiquette which results in endless rounds of email ping-pong and worse still some form of litigation).

My view is not that we are witnessing the end of email but rather the start of concerted campaigns by business to combat email overload and addiction  in order to gain more from this all embracing and powerful communications tool.  Email has become the norm for business communications and transactions.  It has supplanted the letter and (sadly) often talking.

It has become so pervasive that it is likely to be with us for at least the next five to ten years.  In these austere times no business regardless of size and sector can afford to lose one hour a day per person when some simple basic steps can be undertaken to reclaim such lost time.

Some have suggested that social media will replace email.  However, can you do many of today’s common place business tasks by social media for example, send a quotation, negotiate a sale, book leave, discuss a contract etc?  Maybe in five years time when everyone is using these media just as they are email but not in 2012.

So what might 21012 hold for email.  Here are Mesmo Consultancy’s five predictions.

1.  Email charters will grow in use and popularity.
More organisations will adopt some form of an ‘Email Charter’ as they seek to enable people to change their email behavior to improve productivity and combat email overload (and the stress which accompanies email overload).

2.  Email archiving will continue to be important.

Businesses will want to and need to be able to save and find key emails which contain corporate history.  At the same time they will need to free up valuable server space.

3.  Email etiquette will be top of the list for any self-respecting Communications Director
In this highly competitive environment they strive to re-enforce brand image and build customer satisfaction.  In a nanosecond a poorly written email can destroy a valuable relationship built over many years.

4. Effective personal email management will become increasingly important.  This includes both how you manage your inbox and how you use the email software to help you.

The best HR Directors will provide business people with email best practice training whether in workshops or though on-to-one coaching and webinars.  Meanwhile, their fellow  CIOs and IT Directors will look for to software addons to automate the more mundane aspects of inbox management (such as filing emails).

5.  Compliance and security will continue to be high on the IT Directors (and CIOs) agenda. 

First, as cyber crime rises and cleaning up after a cyber attack gets more costly no IT Director (or CIO) will want to have the blame for a cyber attack laid at their doorstep.  Second, as we are seeing and especially in the Public Sector the relationship between email usage and the law in increasingly coming under scrutiny.

In 2012 will undoubtedly witness an increase in the range of other media used (such as social media and instant messaging), email looks set to retain its prominence as the preferred channel for business.

Do you need help now reducing the time you spend dealing with email?  Come to one of our Brilliant Email Master Classes or Webinars.  See our Events page for more details.

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Email etiquette tips for writing subject lines

Posted Monday December 5th, 2011, 12:05 pm by

The volume of email traffic is steadily growing despite those who think email is in decline.  Many people now receive between 60 to 100 emails per day.  How can you ensure that the recipient sees and deals with your email? Good email etiquette is the key.

Here is what constitutes poor email etiquette and will ensure your email sinks to the bottom of the other person’s inbox!

  1. Adding a priority marker.  For most people that red exclamation mark is often a big turn off: it smacks of pulling rank.
  2. No subject line
  3. Using the same subject line even though the content has changed
  4. A subject lines that doesn’t match the content.

Excellent email etiquette in the form of a clear concise and meaningful subject line is the best way.  Here are a couple of examples from my book ‘Brilliant Email‘ .

Subject line

Writing compelling subject lines has always been critical.   Points to note about these two examples are:

  • The action required by the recipient.
  • By when the action is needed.
  • Exactly what the email is about.

Think of the subject line as the newspaper headlines.  What your say in subject line will either draw in the recipient or cause them to skip on to the next email.

Email best practice for subject lines includes trying to say it in the subject line.  For example, ‘Meeting moved to Room 101 – EOM’.  EOM means End of Message.  That saves everyone time. The recipient doesn’t need to open the email and you do not need to spend time deploying good email etiquette to write the body of the email.  Tesco recently had just such an email best practice campaign to help their employees save time.

This weeks tips and hints will focus on writing brilliant eye catching email subject lines.

Need some more help?  You can always either come on one of our Brilliant Email Master Classes or buy the book.

Meanwhile I’d love to hear from you what annoys you about how people write their subject lines and what tips can you offer to help them.

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Email overload – what would you do with an extra hour a day?

Posted Wednesday September 21st, 2011, 8:30 am by

Managing Email Overload and using brilliant email etiquette can save you up to one hour a day.  We have posted many blogs about how to reclaim this extra hour.  Last week we spoke and exhibited at the very successful Office* 2011.  Attendance was up by 18% on the inaugural show last year.
We asked visitors to our stand and participants at our Brilliant Email Master Classs what they would do with an extra hour a day.  Here are the top five responses;
    1.    Sleep
    2.    Go to the gym
    3.    Pamper myself (eg have a manicure)
    4.    Go home early
    5.    Meet friends for coffee

In this current era of self-indulgence and me, me, me there was one respone which was top of our list.  It was ‘I’d like to dedicate it to me time, but rather than take, I would give back (my time) to charity.’  We all have different pressures on us and perhaps not all of us has that extra, extra time to give back. 

However, whatever your choice it is clear that if we could all spend a little less time chained to our inbox by managing the email overload a little better we could lead slightly healthier lives.

My thanks to everyone who participated in this survey. What would you do with a spare hour a day?

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Email etiquette and betrayal

Posted Monday September 5th, 2011, 9:30 am by

Careless emails are the fastest way to expose a love affair.  Recently seeing ‘Betrayal’  by Harold Pinter’s play reminded me of this fact.   The nub of the story, as the title suggests, is about people having affairs and betraying each other.  Based on his own affair with Joan Bakewell, it takes place in the late 70s when email as we know it was almost non-existant.  The couples involved managed to keep their affairs secret for years.

Would that happen now in the digital era with email and social networking making it so easy to expose what one is doing?  Take for example the Harry Stonecipher affair which is perhaps the most high profile and costly one to be exposed by careless email conversations and poor email etiquette.  Before the era of email always on, this would probably have gone unnoticed and perhaps petered out.

More recently is the case of the late Mike Todd Chief Constable of Greater Manachester Police where again much of the evidence was found through email exchanges with the various women in his life. Again these exchanges were carried out on the company rather than personal emails accounts.

Women are often accused of gossiping more than men.  If you look at the root source of most of the email scandals such as the Claire Swire’s affair they are nearly always perpetrated by men.  My own research on gender differences shows that poor email etiquette in terms of gossiping by electronic communications is higher amongst men than women (see ‘Managing in the Email Office’).

In all likelihood the UK law on email retention will change over the coming year to be more like the US laws whereby email must be retained for a certain length of time.  This will make it even harder to cover one’s tracks if the exchanges of love letters are on the company email account.

Perhaps it’s time to return to writing conventional love letters and at the very least improving one’s email etiquette when sending emails on the company email account. 

What is your view on email love letters?

This weeks tips are how to write email PEARLS and not lead balloons which will land you and the business in trouble.

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Email etiquette – time to respond properly to emails?

Posted Wednesday August 31st, 2011, 9:00 am by

How often do you feel people leave you sufficient time to respond to an email? Results from client projects suggest nearly half of us feel that people do not leave sufficient time to respond properly.

Time to respond

To participate in the full survey with a chance to win a free copy of ‘Brilliant Email’ – click on this link ‘Time to Respond’ survey.

Not being left suffient time to respond can be quite challenging especially when a substantive response is needed which requires thought and perhaps some background research.    Why do we leave other people so little time to respond?  Is it:

  • Poor planning
  • Peer pressure
  • Email overload – we miss key emails and then pass the problem down the food chain
  • Bad email etiquette
  • Corporate culture – always working to tight time scales, under pressure and on the edge

Whatever the reason, unreasonable expectations up the email stress on the person of whom we ask for a quick response.  Further the pressure to responde often results in costly mistakes.  For example, we admit to errors, give wrong facts, commit to deadlines and tasks which are not achievable etc.

What can be done to change the culture and make time for people to give an adequate reliable response?  First and foremost, ask yourself how long it would take you to respond.  Now double it (as we always over estimate our personal abilities) and that is the time you need to allow the other person to respond.  That is good email etiquette.

Second as the recipient, to take the heat out of the situation, decide how quickly you can respond and if it is not within a working day, tell the sender.  Tell them when you will respond.  Don’t ask if it’s OK.  You decide and set the time frame.   Again use good email etiquette to manage the situation.

Third as a sender check people availablity beforehand and agree what is a reasonable response time.

For more tips and hints on ways to leave time for the recipient and as the recipient take the pressure off you to respond, follow me on Twitter.

Meanwhile what are your favourite tips on how to reduce the email overload and email stress created by those who expect an instant response?

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