Email is one of the most powerful and pervasive communication tools in our day-to-day lives, especially at work. Email is also one of the most persistent and systemic interruptions when you get too many messages, or consistently receive messages that were unsolicited, ill-written and/ or misdirected. In this episode, I’d like to look at building a culture on solid email communication grounds, using the office as a typical example; although, this can be applied to any personal, professional, family or group dynamic.
At the office, you have a policy for just about everything. So, why not have a policy that actually helps your email and other communications to facilitate uninterrupted, productive time for you and your coworkers to get things done.
Find a way to escalate important-urgent messages. Talk with your coworkers about how to call attention to matters that need an immediate response. In other words, answer this question: “When someone needs something ‘right away,’ how do we ask for them to help us?”
For example, you might decide that if something can wait for hours or even a day or two, to send your message by email. If something needs a faster response, consider using the phone, text, instant message or a “tap on the shoulder.” Then, of course, if you need a digital paper trail, send an email.
Try a five-day experiment with just one or two people on your team, people you work with well. You’re likely to find that the more you practice these techniques, the more efficient and productive you’ll become…and the rest of your organization.