Use Email To Teach Others How To Work With You

Use Email To Teach Others How To Work With You

An overflowing inbox is the enemy of productivity. You’ll never get through it, and people who need your response will be left hanging. One way you can use your inbox to your advantage is to tell people how to best work with you, even if that means forcing them away from the keys.Over at Six Pixels of Separation, Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, suggests that one way to help keep your inbox tidy is to just be ruthless about it and to use your email as an educating tool to help others learn the best way to work with you. For example, he points to those people who reply-all to a message with a long CC list with “ok”, just to validate in front of everyone that they received it.

He says that message has no value, and could have easily been avoided if the sender asked all recipients to reply directly to them with concerns, or ended the message with “no need to respond, I just wanted you all to be aware of this”. Even better, you can foot your messages with “if you have any questions, give me a call” and avoid the inbox altogether. Would people at your workplace obey suggestions like this, or is it a lost cause at your office? Sound off in the comments.

5 Ways to Survive Your Inbox [Six Pixels of Separation by Twist Image]


  • I warn others that if I don’t have an email of a work request for something that’s not happening now, then it won’t ever happen, as that’s pretty much the truth. I’ve been on about this for years and it has started to sink in after much resistance. Focus is maintained, interruption is avoided, Hallelujah!

    I’ll meet people in person and take notes etc, but I’ll turn that into something electronic as soon as I can so it can go into the unified organizational system that I use. Disparate systems = fail.

    Even sales understand it now, they normally want everything to be face to face with a handshake, even the rhetorical stuff. I don’t do rhetorical.

  • My job requires being cc’d into several hundred emails a day to monitor less experienced staff. My pet hate is people who don’t use calendar invites when arranging meetings.

    Miss a couple and they soon learn.

    Also hate it wHen people write correspondence because it is more convenient than picking up the phone for simple yes/no questions. Call first then use email to record answers.

    Just don’t answer some urgent correspondence then tell them you didnt see it in the 500 unreads you have in your inbox as you haven’t been at your desk for a couple of days and for simple things a conversation is always the quickest way to solve problems.

  • I coordinate people’s status for regular training requirements. I send e-mails out to those who are close to – or past due dates – so they remember to book training. In the subject line I put ‘FOR YOUR INFO ONLY. NO NEED TO REPLY’. At the end of the 3-sentence e-mail I put “please direct any excuses to your supervisor”.

    People still reply to me “Hey I’ve booked that for next Wednesday”. Grrr.
    And no, they don’t do it just to pi$$ me off, as they are happy to receive the personal reminder.

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