Berger Leadership Blog

Oct 03, 2014

Email nightmares ... are there solutions?

You Have Mail

Have you ever received an email like this: “ARE WE STILL MEETING TODAY ON THAT ONE PROJECT?????”

Fun, right? If you are only working on one project and you don’t mind someone yelling a question at you. While most emails may not be as bad as what you see above, it does seem that in today’s busy, rushed world it’s hard to get a decent email that isn’t riddled with errors, lacks focus and seems, well, rude.

I try to avoid these pitfalls, but I still mess up. Daily.

Forbes offers several tips to help us improve our workplace communication. They include: slow down; make sure your email has a beginning, middle and an end; proofread and fact-check your work; and make sure you are OK with the email going public, because no email is private. The Harvard Business Review blog has a similar list.

Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt adds a few more helpful email tips to the list:

  1. Respond quickly.
  2. Every word matters in an email. Eliminate words that don’t matter or that cause confusion.
  3. Keep a clean, orderly inbox.
  4. DON’T YELL. All caps should never be used in an email.

If you’re like me and have a bursting email in- and outbox, Inc.com offers some unique lead-ins to help make your own messages stand out. Beginning an email with “Good news …” or “I have an answer for you …” might spark a happier and quicker response.

However, I encourage you, just as I encourage my staff, if what you are going to say in an email can be better conveyed in person, skip the email. Instead, pay a visit.