The “When’s” of Writing an Email

There are numerous articles out there speaking about Do’s and Don’ts of an email or what is the right etiquette of writing an email. Do we still get it right? I leave the answer to you.

Emails are an integral part of business and our work. However very few of us really understand how to effectively use emails or in certain cases we overuse emails to an extent that our emails lose value for the recipient. For your emails to have value, it is important that you send emails only when it holds some value for the recipient.

Before we learn how to interact with outside world, it’s important that we look inside and make changes in the way we operate between each other. In a recent brainstorming activity done with my team, on improving email effectiveness between each other (not for external clients/customers), I asked them three questions revolving around emails.

1. When you should & should not write an email to your colleagues?

2. When you should & should not copy an email to your colleagues?

3. What are the common mistakes we do while writing an email?

The answers were obvious, but it became enlightening. Its just like we don’t realise our mistakes, unless pointed out.

You would not agree less that most of us spend a minimum average of 2 hours everyday just to read, move it to folders and to respond to emails, which are sent to us, irrespective of their importance.  

An average professional spends 28% of the workday reading and answering an email, according to McKinsey Analysis, as stated in article release by Harvard Business Review

https://hbr.org/2019/01/how-to-spend-way-less-time-on-email-every-day

Question here to ask is:

If something can be done over a call, then why to write an email.

Have you ever asked a question to yourself, “Why am I copying this email to this person?”, or do you really think twice before doing Reply All.

When you stop copying your colleagues in every email, it will get reciprocated, and they will also not copy you on every email – it’s psychological, it’s just like returning a favour.

Emails are one of the means to find out the intellect and capability of a person. It’s like your email is your reputation going over to the other person electronically, ensure you are sending a good reputation.

Remember, when you write only important emails, you only receive important emails, which means you are spending time on important things. How your colleagues crowd your Inbox completely depends on how you crowd their Inbox.

A British Survey Found (as shown in the picture below):

Every email you send consumes electricity and adds a tiny amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Since there are so many of us, and each one sends many emails a day, our combined email carbon footprint is enormous. The easiest way to trim is to stop sending useless emails.

Source: World Economic Forum

When you send less emails, you are indirectly helping the environment by reducing Carbon Footprints.

So, when are you sending the next email?

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

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