Making Email Better – Part 2

EmailOverloadYou are the Cure for Email Overload

Part 1 of Making Email Better observed that how we use email significantly contributes to its negative effects on our productivity and sense of satisfaction. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported on a UK study that found up to 80% of email traffic is a “waste!”


Better Mechanics and Better Messaging

We established that focusing on Better Mechanics – use of the tool – and Better Messaging – the manner of communicating – makes email more effective and productive. We covered three best practices suggestions for each. You can review those here.


Making Email Better – Part 1

EmailHellSwimming in Email
We are overwhelmed with the flood of email. They flow into our inboxes unabated like the ocean tides. We struggle to keep up, often ending the day feeling that we’ve only treaded water.

How can this situation get better? Technology solutions, like spam filters, have helped. But what about all the email that we legitimately receive? What can be done to stem the rising tide?

We are Them – A Dichotomy
The irony of our situation is that we’re doing it to ourselves. This is not the work of auto-bots. Other people are sending us email, and we are sending them email. Focusing on receiver-centeric behaviors – managing the inbound flow – can only help us so much. Receiver-centric efforts are like putting a bandaid on the problem. […]

S.M.A.R.T. Email Credo – The "M"

Part2Author’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles advocating that people and their organizations adopt the S.M.A.R.T. Email Credo. The Credo focuses on the sender’s role in the email overload problem. Better sender behavior reduces the time spent by and the stress on recipients when handling email. An explanation of the what and why of the Credo can be read at the beginning of Part 1 here.

What does the M stand for?

The M in S.M.A.R.T. stands for message formatting. Utilizing email effectively includes focusing on how to format messages that communicate efficiently.

Email exists in the wide space between hard-copy written communication and real-time verbal communication. Email is often conversational in structure, yet the recipient could be hours or days from responding. Leaving the dichotomy of immediate response expectations aside, emails also lack the non-verbal feedback received during real-time communication – tone and, if in person, body language. Recipient confusion is the result of poor email formatting and minimal surrounding clues due to this asynchronous communication environment.