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Dr. Greg Segment Summary

Manage Your Email      

Dr. Greg Ketchum, 9/11/04

Email, that wonder tool that was supposed to make us more efficient, is now overwhelming us and taking more and more of our time.

  1. Jupiter Communications predicts the number of emails the average person in the US receives each year will go from 1800 in 1999 to 5,600 by 2005.
  2. Ferris Research found that executives spend as much as 2 hours a day answering email.
  3. Finally, according to Zdnet about 60% of all email is spam.

Major Challenge of Email
It’s easy, quick and as such has become almost a default mode of communication, even when it’s not the best mode. That is, most of us now use email as a first choice without even thinking about it. In short, we’ve just gotten lazy and email helps us be lazy.

The first step in gaining control is in getting up off your duff and quit being so lazy about using email as a reflexive way to communicate. You know, the old “you reap what you sew” thing. If you’re lazy about it, then you can’t complain when everyone else is too.

Let me give you some examples of when to use and not to use email.

When to Use Email

  1. To schedule a meeting
  2. To make an announcement
  3. To relay brief bits of information or check on project status.

When Not to Use Email

  1. To resolve a conflict or work out an issue.
  2. To carry out complex negotiations.
  3. To communicate delicate/emotional information, i.e. disciplining someone.

Think about it. If your task requires human interaction, is complex or potentially easy to misinterpret pick up the phone or drop by.

How to Get Control of Your Email

  1. Block It
    Spam filter, email program settings, network admin, email provider.
  2. Educate Your Senders
    Let them know your preferred mode of communication, what type info to send in email vs. when to pick up the phone, when to cc you (never!) as usually most CC is CYA.
  3. Deal with an Email Once
    Reply, delete or file.
  4. Hit it Early
    Go through email first thing in the morning & clear it out. Develop a rhythm.
  5. Golden Rule of Email
    Email unto others as you would have them email unto you: keep it short, make sure it’s the best mode to use, stop sending needless emails, no CYA CC’s.
If All Else Fails And You’re Not Getting Through to Others

Bounce It
Most email programs let you “bounce” email back to the sender marked as non-deliverable. Let your coworkers know that if they don’t use email properly, i.e. proper grammar, capitalization, spelling, greetings & salutations, or too many cc emails, etc., you’ll bounce it right back to them. That should get the message through.

In summary, to really get control of your email you’ve got to approach it from 3 major angles: blocking, rethinking, educate.

If you’ve got work or career topics you’d like to see us address, just send me an email at drgreg@talentplanet.com.

®2004 All rights reserved. Gregory A. Ketchum, Ph.D.

Career Advice

Dr. Greg is the “KRON 4 (San Francisco) Workplace and Career Expert”

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