Listen to what @ChicagoTheBand says: “It IS a hard habit to break!” Email habits, that is.

chicagoRaise your hand if you hate email.  [Psst…that’s a #RhetoricalStatement]

Now that we’ve got that out-of-the-way, I wanted to be sure you saw the article from a few weeks ago on FastCompany.com that talks about the 7 Email Habits You Need To Break.  CONFESSION:  This is a completely self-serving post.  I’m thinking that if I can get some of you to tame the email monster, then you’ll have more time for social media marketing and your financial services practice!  >smile<

In all seriousness, I believe Peggy Duncan (author of the book Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette and Outlook) has some easy-to-apply tips here that can immediately change the way you do email.  Several of these could really help get you out of the endless email pit and provide more structure to your day:

  1. Stop using “Reply All”.  Only send emails to the individuals who REALLY need to interact with the content.
  2. Be specific in your Subject lines.  Not only does it help the receiver know exactly what you want, but it makes searching and organizing your inbox so much better!
  3. Change your Subject lines.  If you see an email in your box and you want to talk to that person about something else unrelated, change the subject line.  Again, be specific!
  4. You don’t have to answer every email.  Don’t abuse others with your one-liner emails.  Make “thanks” and “ok” an understood part of your culture.
  5. Stop email ADD.  Instead of responding quickly, respond thoughtfully.  Take extra time to think about what you want to say rather than the proverbially, “I’ll get back with you on this.”  It’s just clogging up their emailbox!
  6. Alert!  If you’re flagging all your emails to get people’s attention – just stop doing it.  It’s like that person’s car in the parking lot whose alarm is going off over-and-over and we just walk by it.  If you follow #2 above and be specific – you’ll probably not need the high priority flag again.
  7. Signatures are important.  If it looks unprofessional, it might even make some receivers question if you’re real.

As I read through this, I really thought it would be a review for me.  I handle of hundreds of emails each day.  Alas, I’m very guilty of #5 though.  I respond too fast too often to emails.  So many of us operate on that “service first” mentality and we feel the need to have to react fast that we probably set ourselves up with clients in thinking every interaction has to be within seconds.  Is that really helpful though?  I get that we want to have expedient service, but maybe if slowed down and responded more thoughtfully one time it would be better received and would remove multiple contacts with the individual.  What do you think?

I’m really interested in your feedback!  Tweet me or leave a comment.  I’m very curious what you’re finding is the most helpful email tip out there.

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

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