Posts Tagged “email”

Stop sending 'important' emails

Ever get an email marked as important and then proceeded to wonder why it is so important?

I get them every now and again at work, but what amazes me is that people still send email and mark it as important. Do you really think that little red flag you put on it will automatically kick me into state of tunnel vision, where I stop until the issue in the email is resolved? Be honest, how many times have you received an important email asking you to complete a task and deferred the work to later rather than doing it now. It’s not your fault. You know the task is important, but how important is it really? I think we can all agree that most of the time, it’s not that important.

Email doesn’t convey how important a task is because there is no tone in an email to indicate this. Also, we’ve lived with email so long now that we question every important email that comes into our inbox. How important is it really?If something is so important why waste the time on an email that may or may not get actioned? That little red flag called ‘important’ doesn’t have any magical powers you know.

If you’re about to send an email with a task that you think is important, then stop.

Discard the email and find the phone number of the person you wanted to send that important email to.Phone this person, discuss the task at hand. Provide that person with the all the necessary information that they need to complete the task.

Not only are you conveying how important the task is but you can also clarify any details that you might be asked about it.Next time you’re mouse hovers over the important flag, decide whether the task is so important that it warrants a phone call. Most of the time it won’t be that important, but when it is important, you’ll be glad you conveyed the importance of the task yourself rather than relying on a dumb machine to do it for you.

Read More

Stop using email for internal company communication

​I have a love hate relationship with email.I love having a medium that allows me to communicate effectively with others all over the world. Being able to send some thoughts to a family member in Canada, or thanking your mentor for that little motivational book they sent you in the post. Yip, it’s hard to beat email as a form of communication.

Until of course you get to your desk at work at 9am on a Monday morning and the deluge of email in your inbox makes you regret that you didn’t just phone in sick that day. Yes there are ways of dealing with your email on a daily basis that let you work smarter and more effectively by implementing filters and such, but that doesn’t stop people sending email to you.You see, when you work in a team, department or in a small company, email is often that go to tool that let’s one person tell everyone else about something. That’s great, but when email becomes the standard form of communication for ideas, discussions and projects, that’s when you’re going to wish you never opened that your inbox again.

From my experience, I have found that email in the work place is an invasive form of communication that tries to grab your attention from the pressing, but productive work that you are doing. It aims to break your concentration. When you have processed that ‘urgent’ email, you then need to reset your focus and get back to what you were working before you were interrupted. Personally I can do without that kind of distraction.

So what’s the solution? Well it’s easy. Non-invasive forms of communication that let you see with others want you to see without distracting them from their work. Project and task management, customer relationship management, and intranets are all greats ways of communicating with others in your company without interrupting what they are working on. They let your team see the information they need to see and they can act upon that information in their own time.

And don’t be under the impression that the digital world is the only place you can communicate.

The daily stand up is a great way of communicating with your team and shouldn’t be thought as being for developers only. Anyone in a team, should consider the daily stand up where you want a status update from the previous day and to quickly plan what’s going to happen today.

Kanban boards are another great trick I learned to use from my days working in an agile development team. An overview of the work in progress is a great way for everyone to see what’s going on. It also increases verbal communication over work rather than team members continually pinging emails back and forward.

As a rule, email should be the last form of communication in any team, department or small company. There are so many other ways of communicating that are more productive and will also let your colleagues get their work done.

So next time you want to update the team on a project or want to discuss idea, find an alternative to the evil that is email. 

Read More