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You Suck at Email

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You Suck at Email

  1. You suck at email.
  2. Who is WorkHacks? Accenture -> Undercurrent -> Seth Godin MBA -> Coach -> Tribes Win Manilla twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  3. The BAD news... You suck at email. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  4. Yes. All of you. Yup. Even you. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  5. The GOOD news... You don’t have to suck at email. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  6. We’re going to teach you... how to NOT SUCK at email. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  7. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  8. What we’ll cover today 1. Email is Permanent 2. The From Field 3. The “to”, “cc” and “bcc” fields 4. Subject lines 5. Main points up front 6. Close the loops 7. Bullets, numbers and choices 8. Signatures that work 9. Q&A twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  9. To drive a car, everyone needs a license. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  10. If email was driving, you would look like this. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  11. “When I send an email to one person, there’s a 95 percent chance I’ll get a reply. When I send to ten people, the response rate drops to 5 percent.” - Patrick Lencioni Author, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  12. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  13. 1. Email is permanent like stone-tablet permanent 1. You can't recall an email you didn't mean to send. Some software makes you think you can, but you can't. Not reliably. 2. Email lives forever, is easy to spread and can easily show up in discovery for a lawsuit. 3. Never email angry. 4. Double-check the “to” field. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  14. 2. The “from” field because you should send email as...you Make sure the “From” field is your real name; first and last. You can test this by looking at the email you sent on a friend’s computer. Test from sending from all your devices, including mobile. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  15. 3. Subject lines how to write subject lines that make doves cry The subject line of an email is the first chance you have to tell the reader why you need their attention. Lots of people waste the subject line. They put “hi” or “Meeting tomorrow” or “an idea for you” or worse, nothing at all, the dreaded “no subject”. None of these are useful enough. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  16. 3. Subject lines Try to fit the ENTIRE email into the subject line Bad for storage units. Good for email. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  17. 3. Subject lines examples of great subject lines You have approximately 10-15 words to use to convey the main message: DECISION NEEDED: Picking the new PajamaConf logo today SCHEDULING: Check Tues. or Wed. 5pm for meeting with Fabi at Chipotle on Broadway PROMOTION HELP: Looking for some blog and Twitter love for PajamaConf [www.pajamaconf.com] seems offline. You might want to check. POPTECH ACQUISITION DEAL: Should we take it? (from ceo@poptech.com) In these cases, I’ve ALL-CAPPED the major point or action required, and given you a sense of what you’re going to do next for me. It’s prepping you for what comes next. Just like scary music in a movie means the killer is in the closet, you know what’s coming next, and so you mentally prepare for it. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  18. 3. Subject lines Let’s practice... twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  19. 3. Subject lines How about: twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  20. 3. Subject lines Let’s practice... twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  21. 3. Subject lines How about: “How about a call Sunday with you and BJ - say 9am? - my dial in [eom]” twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  22. 3. Subject lines [eom] or <eom> or eom = End of Message It’s a STOP sign for emails. You can stop reading at EOM. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  23. 3. Subject lines Let’s grade and fix this Inbox twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  24. 3. Subject lines Let’s grade and fix Matt’s Inbox twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  25. 3. Subject lines Let’s grade and fix this inbox twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  26. 3. Subject lines NEVER just reply to old emails. Compose a new, awesome subject line. Now you know how. If you get emails with horrible subject lines... FIX them. Everyone will thank you. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  27. 4. Main points up front Be a journalist. Not a novelist. Unlike writing a novel, where you build up to the important stuff, most emails would be better if you put the main points up at the very top, the way newspaper stories are written. Start with the lead, and then flesh out the details, only as needed. This way, someone who’s busy gets the main thing you’re telling them or asking them right away up front. Let’s look at some examples... twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  28. 4. Main points up front Be a journalist. Not a novelist. “We’re going ahead with the deal. To close it, I’ll need you to gather three years of financials, and have them ready by Friday.” “I’m looking to meet with you while you’re in town. I’m available at the following times.” “My new blog about NYC real estate launches tomorrow, and I’m looking for some link love.” “I’ve got a client who wants to launch a social media strategy. Can you fly to Phoenix for a Thursday meeting?” In these examples, the recipient understand that an action is requested, and can even understand what comes next in all cases without reading much more. The supporting info is great, but they can guess most of what’s necessary right there. One line in, and they’ve got the gist. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  29. 5. Close the loops. Coffee is for closers. Loop closers. We leave open loops in email all the time: places that can revolve back and forth in email circles for five or seven spins. For example, try to plan a lunch with seven coworkers. If you have eight restaurants, it will take something like 30 emails if people follow the average paths. Too many open-ended questions, and too much up-in-the-air to nail down. Look at these two examples: twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  30. 5. Close the loops. Coffee is for closers. Loop closers. Open Loop: “Let’s get together for lunch. What day is good? Where do you want to go? Should we invite other departments or keep it a team meeting?” Closed Loop: “Let’s get together for lunch. I’m thinking Thursday at 11:30 (to avoid the rush) at Chotchky’s. Let’s keep it just a team lunch this time, but maybe next time, we’ll invite others. Work for you?” The differences are obvious. Know why people don’t send the closed loop type email? They’re worried that they seem bossy. Here’s the truth: most times, most people don’t really care about the details. If you recommend, it will come out quickly that Michael is off Thursday so Wednesday is better, and Samir is allergic to seafood, etc. Closing the loops early helps everyone. Closed loop email means to me that you’ve taken back-and-forth cycles out of the process. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  31. 6. • Bullets • Numbers and • Choices Run out of bullets? Take them from your presentations. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  32. 6. • Bullets • Numbers and • Choices Make it easy for people to reply to your email. If there are summary points from a meeting, use bullets (not just new sentences) to differentiate the points. If a decision is required among a set of choices, make it easy by numbering them. Examples: 1.End all negotiations and terminate contract. 2.Respond with counter-proposal 3.Execute contract. (If this is chosen, please also email signed contract.) twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  33. 7. Signatures that work. Short but functional. Like Christina Ricci. Make sure that the critical signature information (phone number, not logo) is in your reply. This can have different nuances via platforms like iPhone & BlackBerry twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  34. 7. Signatures that work. Short but functional. Like Christina Ricci. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  35. 7. Signatures that work. Short but functional. Like Christina Ricci. twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  36. 8. Reply All. When should you do it? Almost never. Ten questions to ask before you hit reply all:* 1) Someone transmits good news to ten people.  Do the other nine people really need to hear you say "Great news!"? 2) Do you need information from one member of the group before replying?  Is there someone in the group you should probably check with before you agree to something?   If so, take the conversation off-line. 3) Does this really need to be a group conversation in the first place? 4) The organizer of a block party asks if anyone has a folding table they can lend.   Does the whole block need to know that you can't? (No.)  If you have one, would it be useful for everyone to know that the problem is now solved. (Yes.). Does anyone else need to respond after that? (No.) 5) The organizer of a meeting asks if everyone is available Weds at 10 am.  You have a conflict, but can suggest some alternatives.  Does the whole group need to see those, and start weighing in?  Or can the organizer collect the responses, and propose a new time he thinks will work? 6) The Golden Rule: Do unto others.  Would you want all those useless (to you) messages in you already cluttered inbox? 7) Multiply.  The number of people on the list x the number of times you reply-all = the number of annoyances you have sent into the world.  With your name attached. 8) A harder one: everyone else has replied all to say congratulations.  The group does not need to hear you say the same, but you worry that you'll be the only one who didn't.  Do you chime in? 9) Rule of thumb: Do not reply all to anything sent to a mailing list. 10) Last: Notice how much you've eliminated from your inbox, by preventing all those unnecessary replies? * This list compiled by former WorkHacks client and world-class literary agent Stuart Krichevsky (@skagency) twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  37. Bonus tools for GMail users: twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  38. Bonus tools for GMail users: twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks
  39. Congratulations! You no longer suck at email! twitter.com/workhacks www.getworkhacks.com facebook.com/workhacks

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