• Do not let your first task of the day be to check your e-mail. Look at your calendar first to prepare for the day’s events.
  • Allocate specific times of the day to read e-mail, rather than doing it randomly.
  • “Only handle an e-mail once,” says IBM Australia’s chief executive, Philip Bullock. “When you open it, decide whether you are going to deal with it, delegate it or delete it.”
  • Do not store outstanding e-mail in your inbox. They will build up too quickly. Deal with the e-mail straight away or put it on your “to do” list so you know what you have to follow up on and when.
  • Do not just write “Re: Hello” in your e-mail heading. Be specific in the heading.
  • Companies should question the use of distribution lists.
  • Ask an information technology specialist to show you how to archive your e-mail.
  • Be selective about who you “CC” your e-mail to. Most people do not need to see them, or even bother to read them. It is estimated that 70% of e-mails are CC’d unnecessarily.
  • Set up a filter so that if your name is in the CC box, the e-mail is diverted to a subfolder that you can read at your leisure. Most CC e-mail does not require urgent attention.
  • Instead of e-mailing someone, you can often save time by telephoning them. You can e-mail them afterwards to summarise your conversation.
  • Take a short course in the software you are using.
  • Discuss e-mail use and relevance with staff to reduce unnecessary e-mail.
  • Be sparing with graphics and attachments.
  • Regularly archive all your e-mail on a CD.
  • Remember that e-mail does not make you a better communicator, just a faster one.

Source: CHRISTINA CAVANAGH / INDUSTRY CONSULTING SERVICES, SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY / IBM / FLIGHT CENTRE

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