Growing up my Dad used to tell me, “be careful what you put in writing, once your words are in ink, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten.
With email as my main source of communication this is scary. And the average business person (including myself), sends/receives 110 emails per day. But oddly enough, there is very little training on proper email etiquette, protocol, and structure. Even scarier is this statistic…
Businesses Lose $650 Billion Per Year From Unnecessary Emails.
Furthermore, 10% of employers have actually fired staff for sending repeated “non-work-related” emails to other colleagues. Are you one of these people sending unnecessary email? Are you wasting people's time? Are you costing your business or employer money? I've put together a few questions that will help you not only value people's time, but determine if that “important email” is really that important.
3 Smart Questions To Ask Before Sending An Email
1. Can I put NNTR at the end of my email?
When someone sends you an email, it's courteous to think, “I'll just respond to let them know I got their email.” Wrong. This costs both you and the receiver unnecessary time. Try getting in the habit of listing “NNTR (no need to respond) at the end of your email if it's appropriate. This saves everyone time and tells the receiver you value their work hours.
2. Can I “Un-CC” someone?
I feel so bad for the poor souls CC'd to group emails. Sure there are exceptions, but more times than not, people are just trying to be courteous. This is not the way. Next time you see 3 people listed on the CC of an email, use your discernment and ask yourself, “can I remove one or two of them?” Be a hero and give someone back a few minutes of their life. They will be forever grateful.
3. Can I make this substantially shorter?
If I open an email that is more than 10 sentences, 90% of the time I watch my mouse go to the “Mark as Unread” tab, which really means, “I'll read this if I happen to find time.” Which I almost never do. Sure, every so often a long email is required, but very rarely. If you can't fit your message into a few succinct sentences, you're either a poor writer or a long winded blabber. Solution: if it's too long, consider a phone call or even some face-to-face conversation. Most people would much rather talk to someone in person than read your short book.
Below is a compelling infographic taking this topic into far more detail. I thought it was fun and worth sharing.
What do you hate about email? How much time do you spend sending and responding? Let me know in the comments below.