The premise is that you aren't working, or at best are getting minimal value produced, when you are reading email. And on the whole, it's correct. It's all to easy for us to count the number of email "conversations" we've had where we should have called a co-worker, had a 45 minute meeting, or walked down the hall to discuss a topic.We are losing our conversational cues from body language and voice inflection.
The tips offered are ok, but not special. The key to business discussions is to know what the right format is for the topic at hand. An email with information might be the perfect preface to an actual meeting. But the meeting must have an established agenda, preferably with a specific decision to be made. Keep "informational only" meetings to a minimum, that's when an email (or a blog or a wiki) are better used.
Sent to you by ckstevenson via Google Reader:
Here's another take in the long line of "lots of email" discussions. This time it is Are You Really Being Paid to Read 200 Emails a Day? by John Care of Mastering Technical Sales.
Email is a wonderful productivity tool – but usually it seems like someone else is being productive at your expense! How do you harness the power of email, without being a slave to your inbox or becoming addicted to your Blackberry? Read on for some proven tips and techniques which will sharpen your communications, put your inbox on a diet, and give you and your team more time selling and less time typing.
John Care does something interesting with this article. Sure, he talks about the basics of being smarter around processing the email, but he couches the discussion in the bigger picture. I particularly like the last section where he talks about receiving fewer emails. This is where the balance of personal effectiveness faces outwards to the group. John's suggestions in bold.
- Exercise your power. Stop an email thread if it is getting out of hand. Use other means, like your feet and the phone.
- Tell them what you want. Don't be circumspect. Don't bury requests in the body or end of a long message. Clarify what you need up front, then use the rest of the message for details.
- Make the subject meaningful. What is it you are asking for? Make the subject as clear as possible. Pretend the subject line is Twitter for the rest of the message (but only ~50 characters).
- Make your boss (or client) more efficient. This is a collection of #2 and #3, but it is repeated for the impact it can have on managing up.
- Monitor the email groups you belong to. This isn't as clear, but if you expand it to "monitor what's going on," it makes more sense. Basically, if you are aware of current events, there is less chance you will get those red-flagged, emergency emails at the end of the day. This one requires balance, though. Too much attention paid to monitoring can feel just like too much time in email.
[found via Steve Johnson at the Pragmatic Marketing Blog.]