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25 Nov

Being structured when e-mailing


Datum: 2009-11-25 10:11

E‑mail is a means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that we love to hate and seem to use more and more, every day.

Many suf­fer from over­crowd­ed inbox­es and get­ting more e‑mails than they can handle. 

Hav­ing a smart way of deal­ing with incom­ing mail once it has arrived is one thing, but as I see it, we can also influ­ence how effi­cient­ly we uti­lize e‑mailing as a whole through how we com­pose the e‑mails we send others. 

Here are six tips to how you can help oth­ers help you make your e‑mailing more efficient.

  1. Spe­cif­ic topic


    Try to be as spe­cif­ic as pos­si­ble when writ­ing the top­ic of the e‑mail. It makes it eas­i­er for the recip­i­ent to imme­di­ate­ly deter­mine what the email is about and how to pri­or­i­tize it.

  2. CC: spar­ing­ly

    Only CC:, that is, send a copy of the e‑mail to some­one else than the main recip­i­ent, when it is absolute­ly necessary.

  3. Ask ques­tions separately


    If you are ask­ing the recip­i­ent to do some­thing or if you are ask­ing a ques­tion you would like an answer to, make sure to clear­ly sep­a­rate these sen­tences from the rest of the text, prefer­ably towards the end of the e‑mail, so that they aren’t for­got­ten or lost in the dis­cus­sion or delib­er­a­tion fol­low­ing the questions.

  4. Save in a sep­a­rate fold­er when wait­ing for a reply

    If you have asked the recip­i­ent to do some­thing, save the e‑mail in a fold­er named for instance Del­e­gat­ed”, so that you eas­i­ly can see who you asked to do what when, and there­by eas­i­ly remind them if the reply is get­ting overdue.

  5. A clean, infor­ma­tive signature 

    Make sure to have a nice and clean sig­na­ture at the end of the e‑mail where your con­tact infor­ma­tion is clear­ly dis­tin­guish­able, mak­ing it easy to find all your num­bers if the recip­i­ent would need to get a hold of you imme­di­ate­ly and in person.

  6. One top­ic per e‑mail

    With­in rea­son, try to lim­it your­self to one ques­tion or infor­ma­tion request per e‑mail, and hav­ing that said, try to send sev­er­al sep­a­rate e‑mails if you have sev­er­al issues, ques­tions or requests to send the recip­i­ent rather than putting it all in one. 
    If the recip­i­ent has some kind of sys­tem for deal­ing with incom­ing mail or to-do-tasks, it makes it eas­i­er for her if one email is allowed to rep­re­sent one to-do-task or topic.

How do you do it?

Do you have oth­er tips as to how we can e‑mail more effi­cient­ly? Please leave a com­ment below.

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