Reply and be replied to

“Choice of attention – to pay attention to this and ignore that – is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.” W.H.Auden The Training Box is not alone in noticing that a lot people do not bother to respond to emails anymore. One recent article we came across, sourced from The New York Times, quoted people listing reasons ranging from “Replying will just result in more mail,” to “It’s easier not to reply than to say no.” Clearly, we have to accept that overloaded mailboxes will occasionally result in emails being missed or in delayed responses but not replying should definitely not be “the new no”. In what other communication channel is it acceptable to ignore the person who is reaching out to you without being considered to be impolite or rude? Your email is a reflection of you. Every email you send has the potential to add to your reputation or to damage it. Ignoring any email (other than spam, junk mail or circulars) is much more likely to send out a negative message. 3 very good reasons why you should always reply to your emails Treat others as you would like to be treated. If you ask someone a question or send them an invitation (whether in person or on the telephone or in an email), you expect a reply. How does it make you feel to be ignored and what does it say about you if you ignore others? Replying to requests...

Lead the way to LESS mail

  “Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential.” Will Cuppy   Good email etiquette is definitely about quality rather than quantity. There are no formal rules about how to use email but you can cultivate good habits in yourself and in your team that make life easier for everyone. Here is our Top 20 tip hit list. 1. Write less: one way in which to receive less mail is to write fewer emails yourself – pick up the phone or walk down the corridor to have a real conversation. 2. Write effectively: being succinct and relevant in crafting your mails may take you longer initially but in the long run, you will be more efficient and effective in what you achieve. 3. Encourage your team to write effective mails too: provide fair and constructive feedback to any team members who send lengthy emails and let them know that you would appreciate short, concise emails from them. 4. Use a clear heading in your subject line: get to the point with an accurate description of what the email concerns – be simple, clear and direct. Refresh the subject line if your reply takes off in a different direction. 5. Don’t get mistaken for spam: the subject line is crucial here. Avoid all capitals, all lower case, don’t include url’s or exclamation marks – these are all signs that could consign your mail to the spam folder. 6. Provide essential information about yourself: unless you are 100% sure, don’t assume that the reader knows you automatically. Write a one sentence introduction saying who you are, what you...

Manage your mailboxes

“Email, instant messaging, and cell phones give us fabulous communication ability, but because we live and work in our own little worlds, that communication is totally disorganized.” Marilyn vos Savant Many people react to email rather being pro-active about how they use it. For example, checking your mail too frequently or responding instantly to visual or sound signals that let you know “You have mail” can be very distracting and lower your productivity. Of course, it may be equally risky not to check your mail often enough. One thing is sure, without a system in place, your mailboxes will soon be overflowing. There is not a one-size-fits-all strategy but our five tips below are designed to inspire you. Adapt them to fit your working style and the environment in which you operate. The end result will be that you control your email, rather than your email controlling you. 1. Have a routine: carve out some time each day to manage your mailboxes and stick to it. For example, set aside some time to pro-actively deal with mails rather than dealing with individual mails as they arrive. Tip: we tend to be less creative in the mornings and evenings – these can be good times to deal with mail. 2. Set expectations: in some situations, an urgent reply to an email may be necessary but you can also explain your general policy of checking at certain times to all your contacts and colleagues. Ask them to call you or send a text message if the matter is really urgent. Tip: if you are worried people will become impatient, reply briefly...