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Four tiny email tweaks with huge impact

The way you use email can make all the difference between productive communications and total chaos. Here are four simple practices you may want to try right away.

Brevity is the sister of talent

“Brevity is the sister of talent”
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Use subject prefixes

From Asian Efficiency, here are some subject line prefix conventions that will save your team tons of time:

FYI For Your Information. No reply needed.
URGENT Means exactly that. Don’t abuse it.
EOM End of Message. Everything you need to know is in the subject.
NRN No reply needed. So please don’t reply.
NFA No further action. This is a combination of and FYI and an NRN, but with fewer letters.

Go light on “Reply to All”

Treat the “Reply to All” button like a trip to the dentist It’s only necessary from time to time. Most corporate cultures abuse the “Reply to All” button. This wastes a copious amount of time and buries messages that are genuinely important. Don’t be like that. Condition your team to think seven times, use “Reply to All” once.

Keep the S.U.B. in your subjects

Vague subject lines sink ships. Start putting S.U.B. into your subjects. Make them Specific, Updated and Brief.

Specific Use “April 15 meeting agenda” instead of just “agenda” or “meeting”
Updated Highlight important changes. Say the April 15 meeting has been cancelled. Give that information right in the subject, like so: “April 15 meeting CANCELLED” Go ahead and YELL, why not?
Brief “Brevity is the sister of talent.” — Anton Chekhov.

Change the Subject

It’s easy for one email conversation to morph into another. When that happens change the subject and start a different conversation.

There you go. Tiny tweaks, huge impact.

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