E-mail etiquette

One of the biggest time management issues that most people are facing is the overwhelming number of e-mails they need to contend with. The first step in slowing the onslaught is to reduce the number of unnecessary e-mails. But, as is so often true, the only person whose actions you have control over in making the decision of what to send and what not is yourself.

Here are some ideas for e-mail etiquette that you may want to take a hard look at. First, spend a bit of time on your subject line. State clearly why you are sending this e-mail and if any action is required from the receiver. Sometimes you can even state your message or question in the subject line, so the recipient doesn't even need to open it.

Take a look at your distribution lists when you are automatically sending out notes and announcements. Does everyone on that list really need to have this announcement? Do some of those people even work in that department anymore? Before you hit send, double check; is the attachment you said you would send actually attached? Is it the correct one?

Last, think about what you want to accomplish with your e-mail. Are you attaching a policy change that you expect everyone to read and implement? If so, is e-mail really the best way to convey the urgency of a policy change? Personally delivering a hardcopy of the policy, or even holding a meeting for those expected to implement it, may be much more effective methods for an item that requires immediate action.

Karen Bolda, M.A., is a meeting facilitator and professional development trainer. She's lived in Ashland for 13 years where she operates her own consulting business. Visit her website at www.karenbolda.com or contact her at karen@karenbolda.com.

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