Because of our new online Email Intelligence class, the topic of efficient email is always on my mind. Here are a few reminders that came up in email classes recently. Workshop participants wish everyone would follow them. Please pass them on.
1. If you use Outlook and want to invite people to an event, use the Outlook calendar–not email. When you send people a meeting request, they can accept the request without having to take any extra steps to add the event to their calendars.
I have been recommending this tip for years, but a recent class attendee reminded us of its importance: She had invited coworkers to a shower for an employee. Unfortunately, turnout was low because people did not pay attention to the email invitation. A meeting request would have prevented that situation and filled the party room.
2. It is efficient to use the subject line for a one-line message such as "Dr. Mendez Has Arrived" or "Lunch Orders Due at 10 A.M." But using the subject line for a long sentence drives email readers crazy. Don't do it!
3. Be sure your email subject and message match. In a class last week, a participant said he felt misled whenever the subject suggested something other than what followed in the email.
4. Always include a subject. After giving this advice for years, I omitted the subject on an email to eight people last week. What a humbling mistake! Here is how it happened: The file I had attached had the same name as the subject I would have used. So when I checked the email before sending it, I saw the right words–they just weren't on the right line (the subject line), as I had thought.
5. Include your phone number. People outside the company dread having to dig up phone numbers when they don't appear at the bottom of an email. Whenever I have to track down a phone number to follow up, it irks me. So please include your phone number in your signature block or in a closing sentence.
6. Don't cc someone's manager to get action. A woman told a story of a consultant who harangued her for not responding to his earlier messages –and copied her boss on the message. He had to apologize shamefacedly to both of them when it was discovered that he had mistyped her email address on all the earlier messages.
7. Don't harangue in email. It's disrespectful and vulgar. Beyond that, you might be wrong. (See number 6.)
What email tips would you like people to remember and pass on? Please tell us.