Email has become a way of life.
Everyone does it. Well most people anyway.
It can be great. It can save time. It can help by minimizing interruptions in your life.
I can't help but wonder though, how much time is actually wasted with email?
How many times do you email someone, or have them email you, and they leave out important details that you need? So you email them back with questions. Then, they completely ignore the questions that you asked, but ask you questions, or, give you additional information that causes more problems or questions to arrive.
Sometimes I feel like I'm stuck in a game of email ping-pong. How many times can we email back and forth before we are done?
Before you know it, you have 17 back and forth emails and you still don't have all the info you need. It can be a nightmare.
Plus, I think email has made us lazy. I'll be the first to admit I have emailed to ask someone a question, when I could have searched and found the answer myself. Email often allows us to easily shlep (fun word:) our problems/questions onto someone else in hopes that they will fix it. Many times I have found that this can lead to my own game of email ping-pong.
With all these problems I've decided there should be rules to follow when you email someone. The only problem is that the rules might vary with different situations but I think some of these should be pretty universal.
So, without further ado...
Questions to ask yourself before sending an email
- Did I answer all questions asked of me? If not, answer them.
- Can I find the answer to my questions before I ask them? If yes, don't waste someone else's time.
- Am I providing all of the information the recipient needs? If not, why the heck not???
- Is there information that I could provide to prevent further delays/emails? If so, provide it.
- Is this email going to be too confusing? Should I just call? Sometimes it's just easier to pick up the phone.
- Have I read through my email before sending to ensure accuracy? Don't make someone email you back just to ask what the heck you are talking about.
Do you have any tips to prevent the back and forth, that seems inevitable, with email?