Recently, I was reminded by a colleague about the challenges that highly effective people face when communicating using email; for many, this has become their primary mode to do business second to texting, which is rapidly gaining grounds as a mode of proverbial intrusiveness in our calendars.  Dr. Travis Bradberry has a very good article that addresses part of this challenge, which I find worthwhile reading for entrepreneurs that are struggling with becoming more efficient.

“Critical Things Ridiculously Successful People Do Every Day”.  “They process e-mails only a few times a day. Ultra-productive people don’t “check” their e-mail throughout the day. They don’t respond to each vibration or ding to see who has intruded into their inbox. Instead, like everything else, they schedule time to process their e-mails quickly and efficiently. For some, that’s only once a day; for others, it’s morning, noon, and night.”  (Dr. Travis Bradberry April 2016)

Here is a lesson I learned years ago from a Chief Executive who was frustrated with his staff using email to communicate with him, he framed his advice like this – if you must use email to communicate with me, then do it in such a way that facilitates decision making:

  • Don’t send me messages with FYI on the body of the email – frankly, I won’t read them. If you really think I must know, then just tell me
  • Don’t send me attachments and expect me to open, read and process for comprehension, instead:
    • Write a paragraph or two on the body of the email describing the attachment and the decision you expectemail chain
    • Take a screen shot of the salient portion I should read and include it on the body of the email, this will help me with deciding whether or not I need more information that would require me to open the document
    • If my response is required include a suspense date, this will give me the impetus to prioritize my responses

Finally, remember to manage expectations, some efficient leaders will do their best to send you a response, it just may not be exactly when you expect it. My personal rule of thumb is to respond within 48 hours. If you haven’t heard from me by then –  pick up the phone and follow up.

Jorge is an accomplished and experienced Executive Adviser, Business Coach, Leadership Development Coach, Sales Trainer, and Radio Host of the Business minute. Jorge is Co-Author of The Change 7 Insights into Self Development, available in Amazon

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