In classes I taught yesterday and today, attendees shared their excellent suggestions for more efficient email. Try these:
- Be selective about Reply to All. Recognize that it is not all or nothing. You can delete some people's names from Reply to All--those who don't need to be continually updated or included.
- If you provide someone's name as a contact, copy (Cc) or blindcopy (Bcc) the individual to be sure he or she is prepared--not blindsided by the contact.
- Avoid having to have the last word. It is enough for one person to say "I look forward to meeting you." Restrain yourself from adding a "Me too" or an "I look forward to meeting you too."
- If something is complex or sensitive, discuss it face to face or over the phone. Then follow up with a written summary of the discussion if you need one.
- When you assign work to people through email, write to them as "To" recipients. Do not assign work in a Cc. Cc means "for your information"--not "for your action."
- Avoid large (1MB or more) attachments, especially to large groups. They waste bandwidth.
- Engage readers from the beginning by using you in the first sentence of the message.