The 4 Emails that Everyone Loathes and What They Do to Productivity

January 22, 2016

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, email is great for a lot of things, but it definitely shouldn’t be any organization’s primary mode of communication. Instead of creating new processes and introducing efficient technologies, we’ve grown dependent on email, which was never intended as a project management or workflow technology. To highlight the pitfalls of email, we’ve identified the four types of emails we all get on a regular basis that make us go…

The Forward -the email thread with about 127 conversations forwarded to you with little or no direction. You finally get to the bottom of the thread and realize you still have no idea what role you play in all of this. You read it again, and eventually ask the sender for some context. Next comes an overwhelming feeling of annoyance. You’ve read, reread, asked for clarity, and wasted a whole lot of time. The only real message “The Forward” sends is that the sender values their own time and not that of the recipient.

The Emotionally Androgynous -the all caps and exclamations email that has obviously been written by someone who is either extremely angry or excited…or are they? With email, intent and tone are not always obvious. And no, the solution is not to add smiley faces on the end of everything. When messages aren’t crafted with the reader’s perspective in mind, they can be detrimental to office morale, or even create an unprofessional atmosphere in the workplace.

The Article -isn’t it the best when your manager or co-worker sends you an article with no indication why? You’ve been sent an article on the latest ad retargeting best practices. Okay…am I implementing these? Am I giving you feedback on the article? Should I assume any deliverables and if so, what?! It’s annoying. Again, the sender is sending the crystal clear message that they don’t have time to make sure the recipient has all the information they need. Then, more emails go back and forth. An Atlassian report revealed that an average of $1,800 is wasted annually per employee on unnecessary emails.

The Siri -when the person sending you an email seems to not care in the least that their email makes zero sense. The same Atlassian report revealed that poorly written communications can cost your business as much as $4,100 per year, per employee. If your employees or colleagues have told you multiple times they need a translator, maybe let’s not have Siri send your messages?

Again, we realize email is an essential tool today and it’s here to stay, but there are ways to optimize the use of email. Here are a few tips from author and entrepreneur David Silverman aimed at making our email communications better:

Include a call to action. Does your e-mail ask the reader to do anything? If not, why are you sending it?

Be upfront. Is the e-mail’s purpose clear from its subject line and first sentence?

Assume nothing. Verify what you think the audience already knows, because it may not.

Think it through. Are your views or requests clear? Don’t force people to read your mind.

To conclude, there are better, more efficient ways to communicate. Email is now this puzzle piece that we continuously try to make fit into these spaces that is just isn’t supposed to be. It doesn’t fit into the CRM role, or the project management role, or the workflow management role, or the operations role. We’d love to talk with you about the technology that does fit. Contact us today.