Articles, Blog

Email Power Tips – Effective Email Management

August 16, 2019


Steve Dotto here. Thanks for joining me today.
Actually today is the first demo that I’m shooting with my new lighting setup so I hope
that everybody likes the color of Steve a little bit better today. I hope I look a little
bit better. We have a very serious topic to discuss today,
one of my favorite topics, dealing with email overload. Anybody who follows this channel
knows that I have a real thing about the productivity lost and the stress gained from not having
control of our email. Today, we’re going to talk about that not from a prospective
of technology. We’ve looked at a lot of the different pieces of technology in the
past but today I wanted to spend a little bit of time and chat with you about what we
can do in our email and how we address it and how we actually manage it procedurally
in order to a) reduce the amount of email overload and amount of stress; and b) also
to increase the chance that an email will properly be acted on, that it will become
an asset to the conversation, to the project as we move ahead and not be become an impediment
to others and to ourselves. So the first things that I wanted to talk
about are those darned addressing fields. Obviously To, CC and BCC are there for a reason
and they all have their place but using them properly is a very important thing. So number
one is if you are the primary recipient of an email in the To field, you have a responsibility
to act on that email. Now if you are CC’ed in an email, you have
no responsibility to respond whatsoever. You only have the responsibility to audit it and
see exactly what’s happening and then just basically audit it. If you’re in the BCC
field, a) you should first of all question why you’re in BCC. If it’s interoffice
communication and somebody is basically copying you so that nobody else knows that you’re
aware, well that carries all sorts of extra social dilemma, doesn’t it? So I think personally
that’s a very bad idea. Now we all use BCC. I use it with my mail
lists when I’m sending out to a small group of people that are say, involved in a course
and I don’t really want to share anybody’s email address with everybody else. That’s
the purpose of BCC, not to be nefarious and to hide the fact that you’re telling your
boss or you’re telling a coworker, including them in a conversation so they can be a voyeur
in that conversation. So be very careful about how you use that. It could come back to haunt
you. Now as mentioned, the To and the CC fields
are really your responsibility to respond but you can also make sure that you pay attention
to it as you’re addressing the email. Don’t send to people in the To address if they don’t
need to respond. They don’t have to be included. Send it to the primary person and then CC
everybody else so that they don’t feel a responsibility to reply. When you get an email
that you have no responsibility to reply to, if you’re in the CC field, don’t just
send back a comment, “Got it,” “Okay,” “Thanks.” No need to be polite. That just
adds to the volume of email in everybody’s inbox. You can just dispense with that immediately.
The next thing I want to talk about is the subject field which is the most powerful tool
we have as far as making sure that email is properly processed and handled. Now I rely
for a lot of my thoughts on email on a woman named Carol Sutherland. She teaches courses
on email management, productivity and team management here in Vancouver. I’m going
to have a link to her site at Sutherland Consulting but she did a series of seminars with me where
she taught people about developing an email chart within the company and a lot of what
I’m saying today, I’m just parroting the things that Carol taught me around how we
manage email especially within an enterprise and within a group. If you want to go straight
to the source, I will have links to Carol’s information as we go along.
But for now, let me paraphrase what she says about the subject matter because this is really
important. If you’re expecting somebody to act on an email, put it on the subject
line. She recommends putting it right at the front of the subject line. I don’t care
if you put it at the front of the subject or at the end of the subject but if I’m
expecting you to do something and I’m writing an email to you, if I put “Action Required”
right there at the front of the email, you know that action is required whether it’s
at the front or the back. If I put “By Thursday” or by a date, then you know even more that
you have a responsibility to do that. If you see this in your inbox, you can’t
ignore this. You are going to recognize the fact that you have a responsibility to act
and to react to the email. This clarity, this not having people infer from the subject matter
but giving them clear directions and clear instructions in the subject line is a great
method for increasing your venture’s productivity. Then let’s talk about the actual body of
the email itself. Carol recommends if it’s a long email, if it’s more than a paragraph
or two, to summarize exactly what’s happening in the very first paragraph, in the first
few lines, especially if you’ve CC’ed a lot of people. They’re able to then read
the summary. They don’t have to waste time on the body. That’s a good practice as well.
Additionally if there is action required, make sure that the last thing you say in the
email is the action which is required stated clearly. Don’t be nebulous about it. Don’t
say, “What do you think? Is this a good idea? Thoughts?” “Thoughts?” is a terrible
way to end an email because if I’m reading that email, I think that you want something
back from me and now I’m noodling, trying to figure out exactly what my thoughts are
on it. Instead, you can say, “Steve, can you please reply to this person by this date
with this information and let me know that you’ve done that.” Very clear instructions.
Then I know exactly what I have to do and I can proceed. This kind of clarity, this
kind of decisiveness, is a real benefit to moving the ball further downfield in any project
that you’re working on. Allow me to summarize some best practices
you might decide to participate in if you want to improve the communication value of
the email going out from your desktop. Number one, only address email in the To field to
people who have to respond. Be clear about what the response you expect is. If it’s
for information only, type “For information only.” If they need to reply to you by a
certain date, say, “Action required by (certain date).” Be clear and concise about what
you expect from an email right in the subject line.
In the CC field, only copy people who should be auditing and not the cover-your-ass emails
that so many people send that basically look like you’re busy. Don’t do that. Thirdly,
as far as the BCC field, use that sparingly and don’t use it to kind of cloak activities
so that people can voyeuristically view email. In the body of the email itself, if it’s
a long email summarize it in the first paragraph so that people who are just auditing the email
can get on with their day more quickly. At the end of your email, make sure that you
are clear about what action you expect from the email and don’t be airy-fairy. Don’t
say “Thoughts?” or any of those sorts of things.
If you start to act with your email this way, perhaps others in your organization will follow
suit and your life will become easier as well as people start to send you clear instructions.
But regardless, you’re going to benefit because you are going to be clear and decisive
and you’re going to take a real leadership position in every communication that you embark
on. If you are in an organization that is thinking about this system-wide, find somebody
like Carol Sutherland who comes in, takes a look at your email system within your entire
venture and then gives you a program that teaches everybody how to get on the same page
and handle email in the same way, which just basically moves the whole enterprise ahead
that much more effectively. I hope you found this video today to be an
effective use of your time. Please subscribe to our channel. You know we are on a journey
to 100,000 subscribers and you are an integral part of that. I appreciate you subscribing,
plus you get the benefit of seeing our videos as soon as they’re released when you subscribe.
I’m Steve Dotto. Thanks for spending time with me today.

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41 Comments

  • Reply daak1234 March 24, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Clear and precise info.

  • Reply Anthony Bowyer March 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Great advice as always. Those new lights make you look 20 years younger……..where can I buy some!!!!!!!!

  • Reply B K March 24, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Love the new lighting!

  • Reply perplexingDANIEL March 25, 2014 at 1:25 am

    The webcam looks better.

  • Reply Silver Apricot March 25, 2014 at 2:00 am

    The new lights are great! Previously, the lights reflecting on your glasses were very distracting. 

    Good content on this one.

    Also, I noticed IQTell on your desktop in another of your videos. I tried it, and it really helped me, although it has a lot of problems. Are you using it? I tried Trello and Asana, but they are too big for my needs for a To do app.

  • Reply HoubkneghteS March 25, 2014 at 2:53 am

    I will be sure to use these. Thanks!

  • Reply Ronnie March 25, 2014 at 3:31 am

    looking good! thanks!

  • Reply Kieran Crown March 25, 2014 at 3:49 am

    I would love to work with you on a new email client I'm writing!

  • Reply Pedro Caldeira March 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Very good and useful video.
    Congratulations.

  • Reply Veni Pat March 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Very valid points, thanks for sharing Steve!

  • Reply Sharon E. Buck March 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Steve, absolutely loved the tips on this one. Thanks!

  • Reply Robin Roelofsen March 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Color definitely better. Not 100% lifelike, but not totally purple anymore. Info still solid.

  • Reply Scott Mortimer March 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I really enjoy your videos Steve, but nothing makes me more reluctant to read or act on an email than seeing "action required" in the subject line.  Just about the only thing I find more annoying is when people send an email that is only a subject line.

  • Reply Thomas Tonkin March 29, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Well done Steve. Once again I'm enjoyed great video as it is both entertaining and informative. I was wondering if you had a list of different actions that I could put into the subject line? For example, 'action required', is an understood one that you provided, however, are there others such as ;for your awareness', 'for your amusement' etc? you have been a regular stop for me and my content absorption. Please continue doing the great work.

  • Reply Freddy Tang March 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Very interesting info. Thanks.

  • Reply mbnbzb March 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Good information! I'm going to use some of these tips!

  • Reply CJMAlgot April 28, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Brilliant, thanks for the information!

  • Reply Lorenzo Buhne July 28, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Very helpful, thank you.

  • Reply Gand does Minecraft September 6, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Ur weird

  • Reply luvslagos September 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    All good tips, but I am reluctant to use the "Action Required" subject line (especially with superiors or co-workers). I think it may be perceived poorly, not as a communication method. Perhaps if I wrote "Action Requested"?

  • Reply Ivan Gonzalez September 24, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    a good huner is key as well 2rip Email Site Ripper – Fully Automated scanner with Email Verifier

  • Reply Miguel Henry September 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Simple and great.

  • Reply Sarge Izzard October 14, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    a little washed out re:lighting

  • Reply DJ LEGION March 5, 2016 at 12:13 am

    SUBBED! This was my 1st time watching one of your videos. Very relevant and informative to me. Well done!

  • Reply Cyndi Braslow May 26, 2016 at 3:03 am

    I want to have a second email account. How do I do this

  • Reply Devon Pixels June 25, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Fantastic tips Steve. Thank you. I have been working on some iPhone mail tips (https://youtu.be/lKd8dzLBRgg). I am sure I will be able to incorporate some of your amazing tips into the mobile platform. 😃

  • Reply Erika Maitland August 1, 2016 at 9:52 am

    First time on your demo…fantastic!!!

  • Reply Brenda Bridges August 15, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    what kind of email do you suggest to send newsletters and such from? [email protected] or [email protected]

  • Reply Cameron P August 25, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Thank u for the helpful advise. I am going to subscribe because my e-mail is out of control.

  • Reply AloniTora March 30, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Very relevant and informative to me. Well done

  • Reply jerry drake May 3, 2017 at 1:41 am

    Nice! Worthy of my time.

  • Reply ablooddiamond May 26, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    very good quality video

  • Reply profbfc September 10, 2017 at 11:33 am

    An example would have been nice

  • Reply Daps December 18, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Here's a outlook plugin that might help. A brand new approach. http://somy.email (Sort Out MY Email)

  • Reply Keith Morley January 12, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    I agree with some of her ideas and others I disagree with. First communication and the way you say and present yourself is valuable. So don't act like a jerk and a know at all. I believe every situation is different.

  • Reply The Todd Lohenry Page January 23, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Apparently, Sutherland Consulting is gone. Where can I get her email charter?

  • Reply The Todd Lohenry Page January 23, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Apparently, Sutherland Consulting is gone. Where can I get her email charter?

  • Reply Marina Aquino February 28, 2018 at 1:40 am

    Amazing Advice!!

  • Reply Thomas Eveleigh July 30, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Steve – love your videos mate. Keep up the good work!

  • Reply Kiran Thakur December 28, 2018 at 5:28 am

    I have no sufficient money to create a account m middle class

  • Reply Terry Ching July 3, 2019 at 1:45 am

    Thanks for the tips. Can I ask you how to add attached file to the standard template of the canned response?

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