Updated: Mar 5, 2019
"Did you get my Email?"
How many times has someone asked you…”Did you get my email?” If you recently read it, you reply “Yes!” But how often do we have to frantically dive into the recesses of our mental inboxes searching for that vital correspondence? Did I get it? Did I miss it? Everyone asks the “Did You Get My Email” question because they, like you, are drowning in email.
Emails, texting and other messaging platforms are essential yet challenging communication tools. It is time consuming and (I think you might agree) overwhelming to read every email communication, or searching through to find the right message. The time we spend on email makes it difficult to get anything accomplished. A recently McKinsey study reports that 28% of the work week is taken up by reading emails. The core of this problem can be distilled into one statement: Email is for sharing information, not problem solving. Think about the last time you read an email thread regarding a problem solving situation; there could be email threads with 8 different recipients sending and resending variations of one line replies such as “Yeah, that sounds good,” or “Maybe we should move Sally to the finance department.” Or varying email subject lines on the same topic. In either case, these are very problematic since they confusing, disorganized, and hamper your productivity and ability to make vital business decisions. But nonetheless email is here to stay, and here’s some additional information we hope you find helpful.
Top Challenges with Digital Written Communication
1. Long Emails: . Oftentimes there is information overload. Some emails are simply too long; who hasn’t received an email with paragraphs of prose or irrelevant information with one tidbit of useful info stuck in the last sentence?
2. Difficult to Read on Mobile Devices: We are glued to our mobile devices now more than ever, but using email on a mobile device includes a lot of scrolling and switching back and forth. This results in a lot of on-the-go reading which is distracting and time-consuming.
3. Hard to Search: It can be very hard to find A specific email; for instance, how often have you tried to find that one email you received last week about “Spring 2019 Sales Conference in Sedona, AZ”; then you find yourself feverishly searching for “Arizona “ Sedona” “Sales Conference” and other keywords only to get irrelevant search results no matter how specific you try to be.
4. Long Email Chains: Email chains are inefficient, confusing, unproductive, and involve lots of threads and back-and-forth communication. These can be hard to read, understand and reply to especially if there are lots of people communicating.
Thankfully, with just a little bit of attention to improving email etiquette, you and your team can vastly improve your communication.
1. Keep it Brief: Emails need to be short, clear and to the point. Share essential details and facts, but avoid prose or unnecessary details that bog down your email. Try using bullet points or lists to make your points clearer, too.
2. Use Font Size / Bold / Underline: When you want items to stand out in your email, use the built-in font features such as bold and underline to emphasize certain information.
3. Don’t CC everyone: You simply never need to CC everyone. Only CC people who need to be involved in the essential communication. This will cut down on the amount of unnecessary email threads, and teach others in your organization by example.
4. Make Your Email Subject Specific: We are figuratively drowning in emails, so make sure that your email titles are as specific and detailed as possible. Vague titles like “Budget” or “On Saturday” or “Today’s Meeting” are not specific and are sure to get lost in the shuffle. Instead, be as specific as possible: “Concerns About Accounting Budget Finance Meeting,” and so on, which will not only make it easier to know which emails to prioritize but will make it easier to find the email when searching. Better email subjects will also make it easier to read and search for the email on mobile devices. A good email subject format you can use is: Specific Item - Project - Client / Customer. (For example: Budget 2018 – IT Department – Acme Systems)
5. Not Everything is for Email: Remember, email is for information sharing—NOT problem solving. If something is important, pick up the phone and call them! You can always document the items discussed on the call with a followup email.
Email is an essential part of our modern communication; however email is ineffective for many critical communications. Using basic email etiquette and being purposeful in the use of email can dramatically improve your communication and productivity.