Tag: Outlook

I have talked before about quirks of email in Outlook that really frustrate me. I’ve also included some thoughts on visual communication through the use of tools like Infographics. So, why not share a great article a buddy sent me on common email courtesy? It’s a great article and is spot on for many “rules of the road” in the email universe that are vital in Corporate America now more than ever. Even five years ago, the majority of the workforce (especially the aging populous) could lean on “Oh I’m just not very good at email; I still prefer face to face or phone communication”. Now though – that doesn’t fly. It is vital to be an effective email communicator, and I firmly believe the author of the article (Google Exec Eric Schmidt) shares some very good best practices.

Personally, here are a few of my email management tips, some of which he included as well:

  • Be concise, yet get your point across: this goes back to Eric’s thoughts on eliminating useless prose – although I do think there is a place for the personal touch or normal colloquial voice/euphemisms
  • Use lists and formatting whenever possible: as I’ve shared before, I’m huge on a bulleted list because I think it forces you to think about what your 3-5 (or a few more) most salient points are and articulate them in a clear and concise manner
  • Remember your mobile audience: I would reason to estimate as many as 60% of your audience will first (if not only) see your email on mobile – so limit the enhanced graphics, embedded screen shots, etc
  • Best respectful of others’ ability (or lack thereof): following up one day after you send something is largely seen as obnoxious; try to recall your audience and how they typically respond to email before you badger them

I’ll revisit this topic at some point I’m sure, but had to share the article in the short term and give at least a few of my thoughts on the topic!

Til Next Time,

Michael

Have you ever been casually sorting through email during the workday only to get slightly irritated by something about a certain message from one of your colleagues?  Believe me, you’re not the first.  In fact, there are quite a few functions in Outlook that irritate many of the fine citizens of Corporate America.

Without going in to too much detail on specific functionality housed within the friendly confines of Microsoft’s heralded email utility, I will offer a brief reflection on each that you may (or may not) agree with:

  • “High Priority” Flags: These should almost never be used.  Having cut my teeth on a few communications strategies, it’s only reasonable to simply say that any email that is sent has relative importance and priority.  If something is really THAT important, you might want to pick up the phone.
  • Read Receipts: I never, ever send anyone a read receipt.  What’s the point?  Again, perhaps I’m approaching strategic communications a bit too narrow-minded – but when I’m reading emails on the weekend at 5 PM (not sure why I ever do that, but whatever), the last thing I want is Joey from Supply Chain to give me a buzz to say “Hey – just saw that you got my note!”  When I read your email, I will respond in a timely manner if it is required.  If I don’t, then you can feel free to sound the alarm.
  • Reply All: If you are responding to a direct question that someone posed to you (while copying some other individuals), is it really necessary to respond to everyone?  When Tom is giving everyone a brief update on his project status, it’s really not necessary to waste everyone else’s inbox with your note that simply says “Thanks”.
  • Carbon Copy: You don’t need to CC my boss on everyone.  You really don’t.  I promise I can be somewhat productive and sometimes even downright timely in my responses.  People resent people that always have to copy the world or mass quantities of high-value resources in order to feel accomplished.

There are many more functions that can be quite irritable to cube monkeys across the landscape of Corporate America, but I figured I’d share a few of my favorites with you at my buddy’s request.

Shameless plug for optimism: at the end of the day, most of the functions of Outlook are useful and good.  In proper doses.  At proper times.  So please be careful next time you leverage some of the “advanced” capabilities within Outlook.  They can be dangerous and received the wrong way.

Til Next Time,

Michael

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