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You Suck at Email

Unfortunately, you suck at email. After this, you won't.

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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
  3. The BAD news... You suck at email.
  4. Yes. All of you. Yup. Even you.
  5. The GOOD news... You don’t have to suck at email.
  6. We’re going to teach you... how to NOT SUCK at email.
  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
  9. To drive a car,everyone needs a license.
  10. If email was driving,you would look like this.
  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
  13. 1. Email is permanent like stone-tablet permanent1. You cant recall an email you didnt mean to send. Some software makes you think you can, but you cant. 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.
  14. 2. The “from” field because you should send email as...youMake sure the “From” field is your real name; first andlast. You can test this by looking at the email you sent ona friend’s computer. Test from sending from all yourdevices, including mobile.
  15. 3. Subject lines how to write subject lines that make doves cryThe subject line of an email is the first chance you have to tell the readerwhy you need their attention. Lots of people waste the subject line. Theyput “hi” or “Meeting tomorrow” or “an idea for you” or worse, nothing atall, the dreaded “no subject”. None of these are useful enough.
  16. 3. Subject linesTry to fit the ENTIRE email into the subject line Bad for storage units. Good for email.
  17. 3. Subject lines examples of great subject linesYou have approximately 10-15 words to use to convey the main message:DECISION NEEDED: Picking the new PajamaConf logo todaySCHEDULING: Check Tues. or Wed. 5pm for meeting with Fabi at Chipotle on BroadwayPROMOTION HELP: Looking for some blog and Twitter love for PajamaConf[] seems offline. You might want to check.POPTECH ACQUISITION DEAL: Should we take it? (from these cases, I’ve ALL-CAPPED the major point or action required, and given you a sense of what you’regoing to do next for me. It’s prepping you for what comes next. Just like scary music in a movie means thekiller is in the closet, you know what’s coming next, and so you mentally prepare for it.
  18. 3. Subject lines Let’s practice...
  19. 3. Subject lines How about:
  20. 3. Subject lines Let’s practice...
  21. 3. Subject lines How about:“How about a call Sunday with you and BJ - say 9am? - my dial in [eom]”
  22. 3. Subject lines[eom] or <eom> or eom = End of MessageIt’s a STOP sign for emails. You can stop reading at EOM.
  23. 3. Subject linesLet’s grade and fix this Inbox
  24. 3. Subject linesLet’s grade and fix Matt’s Inbox
  25. 3. Subject linesLet’s grade and fix this inbox
  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.
  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 verytop, the way newspaper stories are written.Start with the lead, and then flesh out the details, only as needed. Thisway, someone who’s busy gets the main thing you’re telling them orasking them right away up front.Let’s look at some examples...
  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 offinancials, 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 linklove.”“I’ve got a client who wants to launch a social media strategy. Can you fly to Phoenix fora Thursday meeting?”In these examples, the recipient understand that an action isrequested, and can even understand what comes next in all caseswithout reading much more. The supporting info is great, but they canguess most of what’s necessary right there. One line in, and they’ve gotthe gist.
  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 circlesfor five or seven spins. For example, try to plan a lunch with seven coworkers. If you have eightrestaurants, it will take something like 30 emails if people follow the average paths. Too manyopen-ended questions, and too much up-in-the-air to nail down. Look at these two examples:
  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’reworried that they seem bossy. Here’s the truth: most times, most people don’t really care aboutthe details. If you recommend, it will come out quickly that Michael is off Thursday soWednesday is better, and Samir is allergic to seafood, etc. Closing the loops early helpseveryone.Closed loop email means to me that you’ve taken back-and-forth cycles out of the process.
  31. 6. • Bullets • Numbers and • Choices Run out of bullets?Take them from your presentations.
  32. 6. • Bullets • Numbers and • ChoicesMake it easy for people to reply to your email. If there are summarypoints from a meeting, use bullets (not just new sentences) todifferentiate the points.If a decision is required among a set of choices, make it easy bynumbering them.Examples:1.End all negotiations and terminate contract.2.Respond with counter-proposal3.Execute contract. (If this is chosen, please also email signed contract.)
  33. 7. Signatures that work. Short but functional. Like Christina Ricci.Make sure that the criticalsignature information (phonenumber, not logo) is in your reply.This can have different nuances viaplatforms like iPhone &BlackBerry
  34. 7. Signatures that work.Short but functional. Like Christina Ricci.
  35. 7. Signatures that work.Short but functional. Like Christina Ricci.
  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 agreeto 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 cant? (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 needto 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 nameattached.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 youll be the onlyone who didnt.  Do you chime in?9) Rule of thumb: Do not reply all to anything sent to a mailing list.10) Last: Notice how much youve 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)
  37. Bonus tools for GMail users:
  38. Bonus tools for GMail users:
  39. Congratulations!You no longer suck at email!