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Do you use different standard to send emails

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  • Do you use different standard to send emails

    David Allen in GTD Times says:

    "Q: I think email is becoming a two-headed monster. It is vital but more and more people ignore them, donít read fully etc. How can we move forward with accomplishing goals in this environment? Are there ideas you can offer regarding effective corporate communications and task handoffs?

    David Allenís answer: Essentially email is no different than paper or verbal communications, with the same weaknesses if things are unfocused, unclear, and/or unnecessary. Because of its accessibility e-mail has just magnified those problems when those standards in communication are allowed. The key is having a culture and relationships that have established (really) the best-practice standards, such as communicating on purpose, while respectful of othersí time and attention. Then itís a lot easier to ensure that happens within all the media, including e-mail. If you donít have those standards, Iíll bet itís not just email that has those problems."

    So the question is, what do you do, differently by the standard approach. I mean for example the use of email to some people, CC to some other. When I write them of course I expect different things by the different people.
    1. Do you usually differentiate your request?
    2. And how can you inform the other you already share to the others?
    Last edited by clango; 11-15-2009, 02:34 AM.

  • #2

    My practice is to use use the to: line for those that I expect action from and the cc: line for those that need to be aware that requests are being made.

    In the the body of the message, all requests for action are preceded by the name of the person that should be doing that action.

    The other things that I've taken to doing is modifying the subject header to indicate the actual subject, so if someone sends a message with the header that is not specific enough, I'll modify it.

    If some sends a message about two different things, if it's complicated enough and both things need to be tracked separately, I'll send two different replies, one for each item or issue.

    - Don


    • #3
      Originally posted by dschaffner View Post

      My practice is ....

      - Don
      Thank you Don!


      • #4
        Communication is king!

        I agree with Don's approaches of clarifying both the email subject and who you are asking to do what. Some folks get hundreds of emails a day, so I think you are most likely to get your message across if it's clear in the first few lines; your prime real estate here is the email subject and the first few lines of the email body.

        For Don's system in which the Cc: field denotes "FYI", those people receiving such an email need to be aware that this is the system, i.e. this is an implicit rather than an explicit message.

        I know when I get an email I'm grateful when I can work out quickly and easily exactly what it is I'm supposed to do with it.

        I don't have any real hard-and-fast rules for who goes in the to: and Cc: fields, but what I often do is make the first line of the email body look something like this:

        Cc: Joe (ref. putting quote together), Bob (various next actions below), Karen/Chris/Katie (FYI)

        Dear Debbie...

        If this is a little unprofessional or out of place for e.g. an email to a client, then you can send a second email to those additional people you're wanting to pass on explicit information to.