Streamlining communications

Photo courtesy of Marle-Chantale Turgeon (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Marle-Chantale Turgeon (Creative Commons)

It should have been a simple email with an invoice for some service that my organization uses. We had exchanged a couple of emails to clarify the price and the timeframe, and then she sent me the invoice. I wrote back to say thank you and acknowledge that I had gotten it, thinking the conversation was finished. But then she sent yet another email back basically thanking me for thanking her.

I felt like she was wearing me out to have the last word in the discussion. That last email was totally unnecessary, and made just one more thing I had to look at in my inbox.

My email inbox feels a bit like it has gained weight after the holidays, with such an influx of “stuff” coming in that it’s hard to keep up. Granted, a lot of it is spam, or things I get copied on or can delete right away, but it’s still a large enough volume that has to be sorted through.

I do have rules set up so some things just go to a special folder. I’ve unsubscribed to things I don’t read all the time. But the volume is still huge and there are times I overlook something important because it gets caught up in the mess and I don’t see it until too late.

It is making me much more aware of what I send and how I respond to people so that I don’t overwhelm them too. I’m much less likely to write a rambling evasive response to someone or use a vague subject line. Short and sweet. To the point.

I know that I appreciate when people are succinct and clear in what they need from me, are offering me, and whether or not they require a response (and by when if it is time sensitive). Knowing that, I reciprocate by doing the same. If it’s going to be lengthy, I find another way to communicate, like a phone call.

I find a balance between acknowledging or responding, and just plain overkill.

Like that situation earlier – Thank you. No, thank you. No really, thank YOU.

How can you streamline your email communications?

2 thoughts on “Streamlining communications

  1. I have over 200 rules and 60 odd folders for the rules. I control 6 email accounts plus get copied in on at least 5 more so I can easily expect to receive 300 – 400 emails a day plus the usual spam emails.
    I’ll admit to not always checking all the folders everyday but at least the really important emails get sorted into an important folder.

    • Great plan. Don’t you hate that feeling of finding an important one a day later and realize you should have responded? Love when I can be confident that I’m seeing what I need to see in my inbox!

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