Email effectively

1. Do I need to send this email?

Is it really important? Email clogs up mailboxes fast – only send emails that are important – to you and your recipient.

2. Why email the whole crowd?

Only send to one or two recipients – if more people are copied in, few will bother to read it – a waste of your time and clogged up mailboxes for more people.

3. But how do I prove what I said?

Emailing everyone just to cover your own back is bad practice and damages morale. If this is the custom in your organisation, why not take this up with your manager or personnel department? When you genuinely need to keep emails,  save copies in specific email folders – but review and empty these regularly.

4. Is my email too long?

Keep emails short – unless sending detailed information specifically required by your recipient. Most people read the first few lines and skip the rest – a waste of your time and even more clogged up mailboxes.

5. Why does no-one read my emails?

Place the most important information in the email header or first line of text, so that your recipient can see what it’s about immediately. If you have to send a long email, start by explaining briefly what you need, eg  “I need your response on this project by tomorrow or else we’ll miss the deadline”.

6. Am I saving too many emails?

Manage your mailbox ruthlessly. If you want to retain an email out of interest, file it in a temporary folder to be reviewed once a week (or other specified period). If you haven’t actioned these emails before your review, delete them.

7. Which e-newsletters should I read?

News and information are useful, but do you have time to read all the e-newsletters available? If you subscribe to a daily or weekly e-newsletter and haven’t read three issues in a row, unsubscribe immediately. If it’s that useful, you can always subscribe again; but you probably won’t miss it.

PDF prompt sheet

Download PDF