What I’m writing about today, here in the thick of our busiest season of the year, is something I’m continually working on. I don’t do it perfectly by any means, but I’ve definitely seen improvement and hope to continue doing so.
I’m talking about managing the email beast.
And there is a great deal of awesome info out there about “inbox zero”, GTD, and other ways to handle your email so that it doesn’t handle you. But again, I’m not sure I’m the best expert in this area.
I’m reminded of the old story about a man who walked into a barbershop for a haircut, and there were two barbers. One with a GREAT haircut, and the other looked like he needed some major work. So … obviously, he chose the barber with the bad haircut — because that’s the one who gave the other barber the GREAT haircut (while being stuck with a poor job himself).
In the area of email productivity, I’m still a little rough around the ears, so to speak. But what I’m writing about today is more about CLARITY in your email messages, and making sure that you lead and communicate well by them. This isn’t something that often comes naturally, but it’s a pretty essential skill for a Colorado Springs business owner — enough that I thought I’d give you some thoughts on the topic.
You know I like clarity — especially when it comes to numbers in your business, and having all of the right data at your fingertips. It’s what we work diligently to provide on behalf of our accounting clients.
I’d love to see that same kind of diligence when it comes to email communication…
Four Tips To Improve Your Email Productivity by Kathy Bylkas
“Trust is equal parts character and competence. You can look at any leadership failure, and it’s always a failure of one or the other.” – Stephen M.R. Covey
Have you ever felt like some of the technology developed to streamline your workday has actually had the opposite result? Email is often one of the biggest offenders. Here’s what we’re trying to do more of around Team Bylkas, and I think it will help…
1. Use your signature creatively. Use the signature field so that you always communicate information in the way you want to share it. Consider creating multiple signatures for various types of emails you or your team send regularly. Examples of items you can include are links to web pages you want people to visit in the near term, answers to current Frequently Asked Questions, and the areas of focus you want your clients to know you are currently researching. Your traditional contact information should also be included.
2. Copy yourself to stay on top of your tasks. BCC yourself on communications you know you will need to follow up on. Consider setting up a rule in your email system so that any email FROM you and TO you automatically goes to a “Follow Up” folder. This way, you need only look in one place to find what you’re looking for when you’re ready to follow up with someone.
3. Don’t be a subject line waster. A best practice of effective email collaboration: Place a verb at the front of the subject line. Then, use the body of the email to expand on and describe what needs to be done. About the worst thing you can do is to include no subject line at all in the emails you send. In addition, as you send email, especially if it is information that is time-sensitive or action-oriented, ensure recipients understand this when they see the email in their inbox.
4. Carve out time. Some of the emailing you need to do can be done between meetings, or while you’re waiting on hold for a conference call to start. Other emails will require more focus, longer time periods and fewer distractions. For the latter, consider carving out several no-interruption periods during your day so you can focus solely on emails requiring a longer response.
We’re here to help. Let me know if you have any questions.
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