Steven Ballmer of Microsoft fame once said that company founder Bill Gates receives about 4 million email messages every day. At its best, email is inexpensive and convenient. At its worst, email can be overwhelming and inefficient. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for making email more efficient.
1. Make the “subject line” specific.
The “subject line” of an email is a terrific opportunity to summarize the essence of your message. Avoid putting vague phrase like “Hi, Mike” in the subject line. If the mail includes important information, don’t type “Meeting Update” when you need to convey, “Tuesday’s Meeting is Canceled.” If the message is time sensitive, write “Please reply by Friday, October 10.” Using fully capitalized words, whether in the subject line or the body of the letter, is considered “shouting.” Shouting is bad etiquette.
2. An organized mailbox is a happy mailbox.
Learn how to search your computer to find emails by sender, date, subject, and key words. Also, you might want to save certain emails to files labeled “House Purchase” or “Surgery.” Finally, when replying to a long message, delete the parts of the original missive that aren’t applicable.
3. Review important messages before sending.
Queue critical messages to send at a later time. Give yourself at least a half-day to improve and approve your verbiage. Then, carefully proofread the document to make sure you’re using the exact words necessary. Reading aloud is a great proofreading technique. Run a spelling and grammar check before sending.
4. Use a signature file to make emails distinct.
Your signature file should include information about how to contact you. Provide telephone area codes and complete URL addresses (with “http://www.”) so that readers can point and click. You can also easily add more info such as a video business card from Motion Echo Media that makes you seem like a three-dimensional person, which you are.
5. Email is a one-way form of communication.
Email is convenient, but it’s a one-way form of messaging. If you send a message and a few days pass with no response, resend the message with this additional note: “I’m not sure my email is working properly. Did you receive my message three days ago?” Be sure to reference the original subject line. You might also include the words “second request” in the subject line. If you still don’t receive a reply, call them or go visit.