Here at Kite Media, we love finding ways in which we can improve, and communication is a department which could use some improvement in any company. Google’s Eric Schmidt explained the #1 emailing habit of some of the most effective people in an article written for Venture Beat at the beginning of this month. He claims that responding quickly, and to everyone, not just the higher-ups, sets a tone for your company and for yourself that makes you both more approachable and more reliable. We agree.
Quick responses aren’t the only way to stay effective in your emailing habits. Schmidt goes on to list several more tips to get the most out of your non-verbal communications both within your company as well as with clients and associates. We took his ideas and added our own touch based on what has worked well for us:
- Write short emails. Don’t go off on tangents, and don’t use flowery words. Pretend that every word matters, and your recipient will appreciate it.
- Clean up your inbox as soon as possible, because all the time you spend deciding what you should answer or solve next is a waste of your busy day.
- Take care of emails in backwards order. The emails that have been sitting in your inbox longer tend to have sorted themselves out anyway, so your attention is better spent focusing on more recent queries.
- Include other people in the email chain that may be useful, either in helping to solve the problem or because they could benefit from hearing what is being said.
- Be sparing in your use of blind carbon copy (bcc). It’s a better rule of thumb to consider that you should be open in your communications, and not hide information from others unless it is completely necessary.
- Don’t yell. Anger will always be taken out of context and amplified, and if you establish yourself as the type of email communicator that doesn’t yell over typeface, then people are less likely to misinterpret your correspondence.
- Make use of tags, labels or 3rd party apps like our personal favorite, the Mailbox app, in which you can organize emails to be taken care of at a later date, or dictate which emails involve certain clients or recipients.
- Touch it once. If you don’t have the time to respond right now, or don’t intend to respond now, then don’t bother reading the email. Wait until you are ready to respond and then read the message. Think of all of the wasted time we spend reading emails, only to wait a few hours or days to respond, then going back and re-reading everything again anyway.
- Respond quickly. There are few things more frustrating than bad communication. If you don’t have an answer right now, or don’t have time to give a full, detailed response, simply respond to the sender to acknowledge that the message was received and that you will work to get an adequate response back within a short amount of time.
Email has a way of controlling our daily schedules, especially if you allow each new email that comes in to take you away from the likely more important task at hand. After all, we have desktop notifications, smartphone alerts, tablet notifications and all other sorts of ways to alert us when a new message is received. If we drop what we’re doing every time a new email comes through then productivity will die! We have found these tactics to be helpful for improving our internal organization, staying focused on our most important priorities as well as keeping communication with clients on-time and well organized. We hope they work for you as well.