Business E-Mail Time Wasters
Business E-Mail Time Wasters
Tim Burress (E-mail Etiquette and Organization Specialist) gives expert video advice on: How does making a subject line of a business e-mail unclear waste time?; What mistakes do people make when writing a business e-mail with a long thread?; How does overusing 'reply all' to a business e-mail waste time? and more...
How does making a subject line of a business e-mail unclear waste time?
The subject line is what engages people into an e-mail. So if the subject line is vague or confusing to someone in your business email, it doesn't really tell you what that e-mail's about. You're forced to open it at that point as the receiver of the e-mail. And sometimes people find that frustrating and confusing because they're having to open e-mails that they wouldn't necessarily open if the person had taken the time to write a clear and descriptive subject line. The other thing that's frustrating about it is when you go to file that e-mail and you're looking for it later, you will be largely storing and retrieving your e-mail based on the subject line. So trying to find a business email about a marketing plan, when the subject lines labelled vaguely, really doesn't help you.
How does thanking people through business e-mail waste time?
One of the biggest challenges with replies that people find frustrating is the "Thank You" within business e-mails. If I'm in a meeting and you've asked me for something, and I send it to you later in the day, consider it that you don't need to thank me. Although some people find it flattering to get a "Thank You", most people, 90% of the people are saying that they don't need the thanks. So some people might use the abbreviation 'NTN' - No Thanks Needed just to signal to everyone that you don't need to thank me, because I don't need another email coming in.
What mistakes do people make when writing a business e-mail with a long thread?
What sometimes is challenging to people, is when someone types into a thread of a business email, referring to something buried way down below. An example of this would be "that sounds great", but, you're not sure what the enthusiasm of that means. You've then got to dig down into the threads of the business email, and figure out the context of "that sounds great".
How can marking a business e-mail 'receipt required' or 'urgent' waste time?
Two things that receivers find frustrating that a sender sometimes does , is if they're not aware about marking business emails as “urgent” or “high priority” and “receipt required”. There are certain instances when a “receipt required” is needed in your business email. For example if you're sending a contract and you do want to make sure it's received. There are also times when things are urgent, but to mark every e-mail “urgent”, “high priority”, or “receipt required” is not necessary all the time. That can be annoying and confusing sometimes to the receiver of a business email.
How does overusing 'reply all' to a business e-mail waste time?
The effect of overusing "reply to all" on your business email can have a startling effect on the people and on the distribution. If you receive an e-mail and you hit "reply to all" and it goes out to 20 people and then those 20 people begin to hit "reply to all", it can compound very quickly into hundreds of thousands of emails because now you're multiplying by whatever the distribution is. And once one person has hit "reply to all" it sort of opens it up. Everyone else feels pressured to hit reply to all. And note, 75% of business e-mail users feel their colleagues overuse reply all!