Clicks & Notes

20 March 2005

More Email Tips

HBS Working Knowledge - Tips for Mastering E-mail Overload

Lengthy checklist of tips, including several ways for you to make the email that you send to other people more clear and effective.

Standout bits:

  • “Use a subject line to summarize, not describe” – put another way, the subject line should be content, and not metadata
  • “Give your reader full context at the start of your message” – don’t make the reader hunt through a thread of replies to figure out what you’re talking about
  • “When you copy lots of people (a heinous practices that should be used sparingly), mark out why each person should care” – preface the message with action items for each recipient
  • “Separate topics into separate e-mails… up to a point” – important when some topics can be responded to right away, and others cannot; also good for separate the controversial from the mundane; on the other hand, don’t overload someone with a bunch of tiny messages

See also this previous post: Managing Email

Update 22 March 2005: A few related blog posts…

Slacker Manager - Subject line tricks and Slacker Manager - Subject line tricks redux

  • suggestions for useful abbreviations that you can include in the subject lines of your emails

Fast Company - Intel’s Got (Too Much) Mail

  • an article dating from 2001, which notes:

    Employees of the semiconductor giant collectively average 3 million emails a day… with some people racking up as many as 300 messages in one 24-hour period.

  • includes a list of Intel’s “10 Commandments of Email”
⇒ Filed under:  by jen @ 11:49 am


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© Jennifer Vetterli, 2005