Emails are very powerful communication tools for everyday work. What gets to me is the way we treat emails here in the country. After coming back from twenty years working abroad, I found out that there is an “email Bermuda Triangle” in the country. It spans from Luzon to Mindanao. What do I mean? From my own personal experience, more than half the emails I send seems to hit the email Bermuda Triangle. The emails are never to return. No acknowledgement, no replies. Nothing. When I asked around, it is clearly a common phenomenon.
What strikes me as amazing is that the Bermuda Triangle happens at all levels of the organization from the CEO (which can be understandable) all the way to a new hire (which is curious).
In my previous career, the CEO of an 8,000 employee Bank with over $25B in annual revenues replies to his emails within 48 hours. Our CEO at the time, Abdulkarim, understands and respects the effort that an employee or customer put into sending him an email. He reciprocates by replying, forwarding the email to the right person copy the sender or responding with ‘noted’.
Managing emails is not rocket science. A few tips can get us better process this important communication medium.
* Always respond quickly. Why should a simple reply take so long?
* Write crisp emails, every word should count. Do not confuse or bore your recipient.
* Try and handle each email only once. Going back to emails more than once sometimes delays the response unnecessarily.
* Process emails Last In First Out. Keep at it until there are no more new emails.
* Be an intelligent router or sharer. Sometimes we get interesting information that others can benefit from. Share.
* Make it easy for recipients to understand the reason for the email. Clearly state what action is required from the email. If there is no action needed then clearly say it’s FYI or ‘For your Information’.
* Schedule your email processing. Don’t keep your email application open on your screen all the time. Remove the email alerts as well. Personally, I schedule reading my email at a specific time in the morning and then in the afternoon. That’s it. I visit it again only when I have free time in between.
We hope that this week’s management tips helps you and your team. Please feel free to pass it on.