Publications & Products
Volume 1, Issue 22

Optimize Email Correspondences

Managers looking for quick ways to improve their own productivity as well as that of their employees should look no further than their inbox.

Scott Belsky, chief executive of a creative products and services company, recently explained his rules for handling work email in a video interview for Fast Company.

"We are always now constantly connected, and email is constantly flowing into us wherever we may be," he says. "And so it's worth spending some time on how we should manage email etiquette and what sort of ways we can tweak the way we manage email to not only boost our own productivity but that of those we work with."

According to Belsky, a recent study noted that work emails that were less than three sentences had a 60 percent faster response time than longer emails. He suggests managers adopt a policy for their teams in which emails should be kept to three sentences or less—with few exceptions.

Belsky also recommends that managers start their emails with action-oriented steps rather than leaving them at the end of their emails. In a similar vein, he advises managers to use "edgier" subject lines because these are more likely to be opened.

"Often times we think of the copy on a billboard and how that'll get somebody to do something, but we won't think about how we can leverage language in an email to get people to do something," he says.

Some of Belsky's other email suggestions include:

  • Take disagreements offline.
  • Don't "reply all" unless everyone needs to be involved.

This article is from the Dec. 5, 2011 issue.

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