Tips to streamline your email communication
Over the years, I've provided leaders with concrete, actionable recommendations to help them communicate via email more successfully. For many years I even wrote some of their communications for them!
Email is an incredibly useful communication tool when used in the right way. Unfortunately, too many bad habits creep into our everyday practice that get in the way of efficient working.
Here are a few key tips to help you write and send effective emails:
Don't cc people who don't need to know
This common bad habit leads to inefficiency. If they all need to be informed, great. If they don't, why not spare them the interruption? You're adding to their to-do list by making them read an email that doesn't apply to them. By cc'ing many individuals, you're doing yourself and the company a disservice. When many people are copied into an email, it is common for no one to react as they believe someone else will reply.
If it isn't important, tell the recipient before they open the email
When I cc a message that isn't particularly important to the recipient, I add: "Just FYI – no action required" in the subject line. This tells them that they can read it later when they are less busy.
Use bcc instead of cc
If you're requesting feedback from a group of individuals, and they don't all need to see each other's responses, use bcc. That way, the individuals you've emailed won't be swamped with replies from everyone.
Make emails personal
Begin your email with the person's name and a personal touch. For example: "Hey, Sarah, I'd like to ask for some assistance..." or even: "Sarah, I'm holding an event on 17 February, and I'd like to know if you can come." This approach not only makes the email feel more personal but also prompts a response as there is a level of accountability.
TAKEAWAY: Be selective in your email communication and only include recipients who need to receive your message. If there is a need for multiple recipients, request that one specified person performs the work required. If you don't get a response from the first person, ask a second.