For the last five years, Inbox Zero was the holly grail for many who wanted to save time dealing with email. But did it really help and reduce email overload? Is your business email etiquette and social media footprint helping or hampering your chances of a new job? How quickly can you spot fake news? These are some of the topics we highlight for this month.
1. What is the best way to manage your inbox and email overload? Over the years many different approaches to email management have been touted as the salvation for everyone suffering from business email overload. These include Inbox zero which many pursued as the holy of grail of business email management. Now Merlin Mann its inventor doubts its effectiveness and suggest that it might indeed be a complete waste of time. So what are we left with, the sledge hammer or goldfish approaches? In this Guardian guest blog, Monica reviews the options.
2.Eight email (etiquette) mistakes which bug your colleagues. Adding kisses and emoticons, not including a greeting and informal content are just some of the things you might be doing with email which annoys your colleagues. This is what a recent study by CV-Library revealed. Sending emails well out-side normal office hours is also very annoying. None of this is new but these are also business email etiquette habits which might be costing you your next job (including when emailing recruitment companies).
Check your business email etiquette using the Mesmo Consultancy on-line analytical tool. It is so easy to fall into sloppy habits as we work under increasing time pressures. Make sure this is not happening to you and that your business email etiquette is not jeopardising your next job. For more tips see the Mesmo Business Email Etiquette video the Five S Formula for Writing Effective Emails.
3. Deep clean your internet activity. Yes, the first port of call for recruiters is often the internet. What will they find out about you? Old social media posts which you forgot to remove. One of us was recruiting for a CEO. After finding information about a potential candidate they phoned a business associate who might know more. Yes, you guessed, the candidate did not make it past the first round. You cannot remove all the content for example reputable news content. However, you can clean up your social media posts as this article explains.
4. Corporate leaders: keep your Yammering in check. It is not just the Millenials and Snowflakes that need to be mindful of what they post on the web. CEOs too can sometimes wreak havoc with their posts as Jean- Sébastien Jacques CEO of Rio Tinto found. It is easy to get carried away by the ease of posting and one’s own self-importance. In the process as Mr Jacques and others have found they can reveal too much personal information and sensitive data which causes mayhem. On the other hand there is a line of thought which says there is no such thing as bad publicity. It’s a very fine dividing line as these articles have demonstrated and which need treading with great care and attention.
5. Spotting fake news. Pre the web, we used to say there are lies and dam lies. We were taught to study the statistics used and look for inconsistencies etc. Whilst this is still a vital skill, the challenge is how to spot news on social media which is fake. Here is an excellent concise guide on how to do it.
Digital detoxing dominated the summer headlines as not just the Millennial generation tried it to recover from lack of sex and poor personal relations. Meanwhile, Hilary Clinton’s public profile continued to suffer from the fall-out from using her personal email account for State business. Not quite email, but take a look at the self-assessment on how robust are your social media posts.
Last but not least there is still time to listen to Monica’s email best practice Q&A session on the Sasha Twining show on BBC Radio Solent. It’s about 2hrs 09 minutes into the whole programme.
1. Digital detox the business imperative. Despite it being related to summer vacations, there are some very important messages around taking a digital detox even if only for a few hours. We still spend far too much time with our heads in our mobile devices and not enough seeing and listening properly to the here and now. This is a summary of some of the key articles.
2. How to avoid email overload and enjoy a digital detox. If you have not yet had a break, here are top tips on how to reduce the holiday email overload and enjoy a digital detox.
3. Should I hit Reply All – No. The New York Times devoted nearly half a page to the one word response to a reader’s question about hitting Reply All. That sums up how important the word ‘No’ can be.
4. Cash for favours, emails turn heat up on Clinton. Clinton’s use of a private email server for US Government business continues to dog her Presidential campaign. We’ve think before hitting send. What does this email say about me. What if it fell into the wrong hands. Few of us will make it to such a position of high office but even so emails we wish we had never sent have a habit of coming back to haunt us just as Hilary Clinton is finding out.
5. How safe are your social media posts? A very useful self-assessment exercise to help protect your your professional reputation.
These four themes dominated the press and social media over the last few weeks, what to and not to put in an email, the Clinton email scandal, our digital habits and whether or not email is dying.
Is email yesterday’s technology and will email overload soon be a thing of the past? Maybe for Generation K – teenagers. However, four recent studies on email overload and email traffic suggest that this is definitely not the case see below.
1. Email alert: full inboxes leave staff exhausted. Professor Cary Cooper pronounced that email is sapping the life out of the British workforce. It is one reason why British productivity is the lowest in the G7 group. Germany and France are taking action to reduce the email overload malaise, but few UK based companies are doing anything. Sir Cary says ‘companies need to take drastic action’.
2. Here are some of the findings from a fascinating new study of the email behaviour of over 2 million users by a group of researchers at Yahoo and the University of Southern California.
2. The overall volume of emails sent and received is predicted to grow by 3% year on year between 2015 and 2019 according to the Radicati Groups latest email statistics report. This may be a small increase but nonetheless it is still up rather than down.
3. Pointless emails are common. A study focused on British email users (by Sennheiser) found that of 2,000 business users one third felt there was always someone in their team who sent pointless emails (eg the photo copier is broken) when an alternative more effective method could be used. 38% confessed to sending an email which started an email war and 25% said they used email instead of talking because they were emailing about a person sitting close by!
Even if you only receive half the number of emails identified in these studies that is 50 per day and 10,000+ per year. If you are a manger the volume will be higher and the email overload more pronounced.
There are important lessons to be drawn from these studies, not least about email etiquette, the risk of missing important emails as email traffic increases and the impact of email overload on business and personal productivity and finding key emails when needed to support your reason for actions taken.
Simply banning email is not a solution as the Grossman Group pointed out. The solution is to change the email culture and enable people to use email more responsibility. Know when to stop an email chain and talk, no reply is required, etc.
These are challenges which Mesmo Consultancy regularly addresses in its email management training webinars, workshops and one-to-one coaching. If these are issues you face then why not call us now to hear how we have helped other clients like you?
Tags: Cary Cooper, email etiquette, email management training, email overload, Generation K, Generation X, Generation Y, Mesmo Consultancy, Millenials, Radicati Group, Sennheiser, The Grossman Group, University of Southern California, Yahoo