Email is part of day to day business life in most businesses. Here are a few tips to help you regain control of your inbox.
Speak to people
When you receive an email that looks like it’s going to be complicated to reply to, visit/telephone the person who sent it, and ask what they want you to do. Discussing things in person can eliminate those email chains that go on and on. People can often hide behind email but in person, you can make your point and, if necessary, demand a straight answer.
Send good emails
We all get junk emails on a regular basis. If you send good quality emails you will tend to receive quality emails back. Try to be straight with people and don’t hide behind elusive language. Tackle problems head on and in a polite manner. This will make it more difficult for people to respond in a rude or annoying way.
Avoid “reply all”
This just clutters up people’s inboxes unnecessarily. They will also reply all back to you and clutter up your inbox. Only reply to those to whom it is necessary to reply.
If you receive a lengthy email and you are too busy to deal with it, reply to or call the sender. Try something along the lines of “Thanks for this. I’m short on time. Very quickly, what is it you would like me to do?”
Very often we send emails in order to get things agreed in writing. If you need this, perhaps try having a conversation with the person. Establish the way forward, agree verbally then when you get back to your desk send an email to confirm what has been agreed along the lines of, “As discussed today, we have confirmed our agreement to….” Don’t forget to file this email – it can be useful if the decision is ever challenged.