We've all navigated through extremely convoluted email threads. Ask yourself these questions so you can craft more comprehensive replies with relevant information, and deliver it to the right people.
Picture: Jacob Bøtter/Flickr
Management consultant Carson Tate suggests these four questions before replying to an email:
Who? This breaks down into two sub-questions: "Who needs to respond to, take action on, or make a decision about this information?" Put their name(s) on the to: line. "Who needs to know this information?" Put their name(s) on the cc: line.
Why? Look back at the names on the to: line and the cc: line. For each name, ask yourself, "Why is this person involved in the project?"…Make sure the tone, style, and content of your email matches up — just as you would choose appropriate words, tone, and body language if you were sitting across a table from them and discussing the topic in person…
What? "What is the purpose of the email?…What are the key facts? What references or research data need to be included?"…
How? Ask yourself, "How do I want recipients to respond?" Describe this explicitly in your email. If there's a deadline, say so. If you want an email response, say that…Never assume that people will understand what you want — tell them as straightforwardly as possible.
These points will convey your messages and desired outcomes in as few emails as possible. Remember, emails can be important but your value is in making decisions.
(No Subject): How Sloppy Emails Ruin Your Productivity [LinkedIn via 99u]