By Vibons Team   |    4 min read


By Vibons Team
 4 min read

John is from the finance department. He is hard-working, energetic, and motivated... However, he does have a problem. Emails... How many does he receive a day? Take a guess. 100? Go up... 150? Higher... 200? More... He receives a whopping 265 emails from morning till night. Our study shows that nearly one-third of them are unnecessary or irrelevant... If he spends 45 seconds to open, read, and delete each email, there is one hour wasted...

It is up to us to make email communications “smarter!" Wouldn't you like to cut the number of your emails in half? Gain time, increase attention, and reduce stress... Then, watch out for the 5 principles of Effective Email Communication.

One: Use distribution lists and reply all carefully. Let's give an example. An employee puts 3,200 people on "to" and 2,850 people on "cc" to send an internal email in the company. One of the persons in the list did a "reply all." Then another did the same, and then another one... An email of little importance has turned into some 32,000 and more emails. If each recipient spends a mere 15 seconds, the time equaling one employee's one month of work is wasted. When distribution lists are combined with reply all, email avalanches are created... Use these two features only when really necessary.

Two: When sending a new email, put only the "really" necessary people on "to" and "cc” Studies show that three out of five emails sent are replied to. In other words, these emails come back to us like a boomerang, distracting us and wasting our time. When you have this reminder on your computer screen, ask yourself: "Would there be series information loss if I remove some of these people from the delivery list?"

Managers must certainly provide feedback to the team. Like, “You don't need to put me in cc.” A true story. A bank executive persistently asked, "What action do you expect me to take in this matter?" each time he was put on cc by his team, and as a result, managed to cut the number of emails by half.

Three: Do not attempt to resolve unclear issues through chain emails. Take a look at this cake. It has three slices. These slices represent how well the other side perceives what is expressed. One of the slices represents the meaning created by the words we use, the other represents how we say the words, in other words, our emphasis and intonation. The last one represents the effect of body language, in other words, our gestures, facial expressions, and posture... Which one do you think is the most effective of the three? Think about it for three seconds.

One, two, three... The answer is body language. When face to face, we are able to relay the whole message to the other person. On the phone, only half, and on email just a few... Facial expressions, gestures, intonations–all are missed out on... Consequently, what you are trying to say may not be fully understood or may be misunderstood. Result? The more complicated an issue is, the more you should avoid communication via email. Some people write about unclear issues and expect a reply. If you read and reply, other does the same... Then, you end up with a long chain email. Surely you could handle the issue much easier with a phone call. If you need to keep a record of it, clarify the issue on the phone or face to face, and then email the actions and decisions afterwards.

Four: Avoid email correspondence in delicate matters. Hold face to face discussions for issues that are too personal or open to criticism. Written communication is perceived as impersonal. The other party often misunderstands. The messages can lead to an entirely different place when a couple of punctuation marks change places. One question mark means a question, whereas two of them mean holding someone responsible. If you have written an angry email, let it sit in your email box for a couple of hours. You will most likely not send that email in that way after that time.

Five: Remember that an email can have legal consequences. You cannot know who will be forwarded the email you sent your friend and for what purposes it will be used. Thus, treat issues such as customer confidentiality and competition sensitively.

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