The nine fatal errors of emailing

The nine fatal errors of emailing, by the Google president

How many business email do you ship per day? How many mistakes do you make in writing? Eric Schmidt has instructions for you.

“How Google Works,” signed by Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and former Senior Vice President of Products Jonathan Rosenberg and released in a matter of days, is full of Google’s wisdom in dozens of areas; how to make the right recruits, how to properly send business email.

Schmidt’s personal rules are as follows:

1. To answer quickly: Being busy is no excuse to reply to your mail. Most successful and busy people I know are responding immediately. The faster you respond, the more likely your associates are to include you in the flow of information and decisions. In our group a “OK, I got it” is enough and all the recipients know that the job is going on. On the contrary, the non-response is perceived as “I’m stuck and I do not know when and if I answer you and a pity that you appreciate my opinion, but you have to wait until I give it to you.”

2. Every word counts: Be laconic and accurate. If you describe a problem, do it clearly. This, of course, takes you longer. You usually write an original text and then “comb” by removing unnecessary items. They once asked the author Elmore Leonard for being successful. “Why do I leave the points the reader would pass without reading?” Many emails are full of such points.

3. Clean Inbox: Every second you are wondering if you have read or answered a message in your inbox is a waste of time. Every message that comes and requires action on your part must lead directly to action. If the issue is more complex then put a Gmail star into the message and get involved later. So you will only have important messages in your inbox and not scattered communications that may be important, may or may not.

4. The LIFO series: It means Last In First Out. Usually older emails have already been answered by others (if you are in a cc list).

5. Share the information: Any email you receive may be useful to someone else. Think every time who could benefit from it.

6. The purpose of bcc: The blind carbon copy (where none of the multiple recipients knows who others are) means you want to hide something, which is bad if you are in a transparency promoting organization.

7. Do not cry: Never use capitals – that’s like shouting – and never scream by email. If you have to come to a verbal confrontation, do the divorce.

8. Take care of follow up: When you send a mail with something to do, cc yourself and give a label “follow up”. When the time comes to see what happened and what not, the label will display the unfinished business. Just re-send the original mail with the label “What happened?”

9. Make your future search easy: Help your future self by writing titles, terms and labels in a way that is easy and straightforward. Think ‘how would I look for this if I had lost it?’

 

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