Seth Godin put out a blog post today about making an email checklist . Â He referenced an article by Chris Anderson trying to accomplish the same. And of course there’s my rant in February on encouraging people to think before they hit “reply all”. Â Why are we all writing about this?
Because we get too much email right now. Â The average person takes 30-60 seconds reading any given email. If you receive just 60 emails, you’ve spent an hour on that just cognitively processing them. Â If you have to open and read, that time goes up. Â How much time do you suppose you spend reading email?
So these gentlemen have tried to come up with a list of rules for email to help streamline the process. For instance, they both recommend using “EOM” (end of message) at the end of subject lines if that’s all there is to an email. Â Imagine if you got four emails that had subjects with enough information in them that you got the information you needed, and then it said EOM so you knew you didn’t have to open them. Â Cool, huh?
How about another one – NNTR (no need to reply). Â It would no longer be necessary to send an “LOL” or a “Great!” back on something because the person indicated they weren’t expecting a reply. Â In fact, they went to the trouble of telling you NOT to respond. Â Nice.
In Seth’s list, his final question is genius – if you had to spend 42 cents to send the exact same message, would you? Â Can you imagine how many fewer messages we would receive if everyone used that as a gauge?
My favorite idea from Chris is to offer multiple choice answers rather than open ended questions. Â If you need one of four-six responses, list those for the person so they could respond with “A” or “E” rather than try to guess what you want to hear with a big long answer.
So stop and think before you send your next email. Â Are the people receiving it going to want or need it? Â Should I cut down on the CC list? Â Is there anything in the email that shouldn’t be forwarded to other people (keep those issues to phone)? Â Am I managing this email or just pushing it like a piece of paper out the door? If I’m not managing it, does that mean I’m wasting the other person’s time? Â Let’s make email more productive!