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25 Nov

Being structured when e-mailing

Date: 2009-11-25 10:11 Comments: 0 st

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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