The Ultimate Business Email Course: Smart Mailing & Inbox Zero [Part 3]

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The only course you will ever need to get your business emails under control!

Course Content (6 Parts)

Part 3 – The Email Charter – 10 Rules Against the Email Spiral

The Email Charter is a set of guidelines for more effective email communication, created by Chris Anderson & Jane Wulf. It was developed in response to the growing problem of email overload and its negative impact on productivity, communication, and work-life balance.

In this part of the email course, we’ll dive into each of the 10 guidelines in the Email Charter and provide tips on how to implement them for more productive and positive email communication.

(1) Respect Recipient’s Time

The first rule in the Email Charter is to respect the recipient’s time. This means being mindful of when and how often we send emails and only sending them when necessary. To put this into practice, consider the tips from part 2 of this course, including:

  • Think before you send: Before hitting “send,” ask yourself if the email is necessary, or if the information could be conveyed in a different way.
  • Keep it short and sweet: Whenever possible, keep emails concise and to the point.
  • Use clear subject lines: Be specific and descriptive in your subject lines, so the recipient can quickly determine if the email requires their immediate attention.

Remember: You are responsible for ensuring that the recipient spends as little time as possible processing your e-mail! This means that you may have to invest more time in the creation of the mail.

(2) Short or Slow is not Rude

The second guideline is that it’s okay to write short emails, and it’s also okay to take time to respond to emails.

Don’t take it personally if the email (response) to you is very brief. Or if you get a late response. We all always have too much to do and too little time.

(3) Celebrate Clarity

The third rule is to celebrate clarity. This means writing clear and concise emails that get to the point quickly. To improve the clarity of your emails, try these tips:

  • Use short sentences and paragraphs: Long, complex sentences and paragraphs can be difficult to read and understand. Keep things simple and to the point.
  • Use bold and italic text: Use bold or italic text to highlight important information and make it stand out.
  • Include status categories like [Action] and [FYI] in the clear subject line.
  • Avoid jargon and acronyms: Not everyone may be familiar with the terminology you use. When in doubt, explain any unfamiliar terms or acronyms.

(4) Quash Open-Ended Questions

Avoid asking open-ended questions in emails that require long or complex responses.

To put this into practice, consider these tips:

  • Use clear, specific questions: Instead of asking open-ended questions, try to be as specific as possible in your email.
  • Break up complex questions into smaller parts: If you do need to ask a complex question, break it down into smaller parts to make it easier to digest.
  • Consider alternative communication methods: For complex or sensitive topics, it may be best to have a face-to-face or phone conversation instead of relying on email.

(5) Slash Surplus cc’s

The fifth rule is to be mindful of who you copy (cc) on your emails and to reduce the number of people you include in your email conversations. Here are a few ways to put this guideline into action:

  • Only include necessary recipients: Before adding someone to the cc field, consider if the information is relevant to them or if they need to be kept in the loop.
  • Be mindful of the impact on others: Think about how many emails others are receiving and try to limit the number of unnecessary emails they receive.
  • Use “Reply All” sparingly: Only use “Reply All” when necessary. Often, a response to the original sender is sufficient.
  • Avoid cc-ing someone for the sake of “covering your bases”: Adding unnecessary recipients to an email can create confusion and clutter in their inbox.
  • Consider using the “Bcc” field: If you’re sending an email to a large group of people who don’t need to see each other’s email addresses, consider using the “Bcc” field.
  • Be mindful of privacy: Consider if the email contains sensitive information that should not be shared with everyone on the email chain.

(6) Tighten the Thread

Keep email threads organized and easy to follow. Here are some tips for tightening email threads:

  • Trim unnecessary content: When replying to an email thread, only include the necessary parts of the previous message to keep the conversation streamlined.
  • Keep conversations in one thread: Avoid starting multiple email threads on the same topic.
  • Start a new thread if necessary: If the conversation has shifted to a new topic, start a new email thread to keep things organized.

(7) Attack Attachments

Be mindful of file attachments and avoid sending large or unnecessary files. Here are some tips for handling attachments:

  • Avoid unnecessary attachments: Only include attachments that are necessary and relevant to the email.
  • Use cloud-based storage: Consider using cloud-based storage (such as Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive) for larger files instead of attaching them to an email.
  • Name files clearly: Use clear and descriptive file names to make it easy for the recipient to identify what the file contains.
  • Compress multiple files: If you need to send multiple files, consider compressing them into a single zip file to make it easier for the recipient to download.

(8) Give these Gifts: EOM & NNTR

The eighth guideline in the Email Charter is to use “EOM” (End of Message) and “NNTR” (No Need to Respond) when appropriate. This is how you use them:

  • Use “EOM” at the end of the subject line. If your email contains all the necessary information in the subject line, use “EOM” to indicate that the recipient doesn’t need to open the email.
  • Use “NNTR” at the end of an email: If you’re sending an email that doesn’t require a response, add “NNTR” at the end to let the recipient know they don’t need to reply.

(9) Cut Contentless Responses

Avoid sending emails that are empty or lack substance. If you have nothing important to add to the conversation, it may be best not to respond at all. Save the recipient and yourself time.

Tip: End your emails with “Thank you in advance.” and you don’t need to reply with another mail saying only “thank you”.

(10) Disconnect

The tenth and final guideline in the Email Charter is to set boundaries and limit email communication outside of work hours.

Here are some tips for disconnecting:

  • Set clear boundaries: Create specific times when you will not check your email (such as evenings or weekends). Let your colleagues know when you’re not available to respond to emails outside work hours.
  • Use auto-reply: Consider setting up an auto-reply message for when you are away from your email.
  • Turn off email notifications: If you have work email on your personal phone, turn off notifications (at least) outside of work hours to avoid feeling pressured to constantly check your email.
  • Take breaks: Allow yourself and others to disconnect and recharge without feeling the pressure

Allow yourself and others to disconnect and recharge without feeling the pressure to constantly check and respond to emails.

To achieve optimal productivity, it’s essential to disconnect from the online world and embrace offline moments.

To be continued…

Part 4 – The “@1-2-3-Plus-System” – Organizing Emails Wisely

Part 5 – Inbox Zero and the “FASD Principle” – Mastering the Email Inbox

CONCLUSION – The Final Rules to Internalize Effective Mail Management

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