Here’s a lesson I am still struggling to apply.
Here’s the scenario; you sent an email a couple of weeks ago asking for an update on a project. This email has not be responded to. What are you going to do next? I bet 90% of you send another email. Maybe with slightly different words? Or a different tone? Or cc’ing in someone more senior in the hope to shake out a response?
Let’s think about this logically. Your first email didn’t elicit a response so what makes you think that your second email will?
All too often we rely on the anonymity of email, it makes us look busy and it gets the item off our to-do list. But before you send that second email I want you to weigh up the efficiency versus effectiveness. Yes email is efficient – blast a quick email, done. However you really need an update on the project, so would it actually be more effective to pick up the phone or actually walk over and talk to someone in person. Remember, you’re trying to get a project or task moved forward, if they haven’t responded to your first email for a number of days – what makes you think they are going to prioritise it a second time?
Efficiency vs effectiveness. That’s the new equation i want you to apply every time you go to hit send on a chaser email.
And this is a great teaching point for you team too. If you ask them for an update on a project and it’s been outstanding for a couple of weeks. Ask them if sending a second email is going to elicit the right response? Ask them what other communications routes they could choose.
Imagine the reduction in email traffic if we all just picked up the phone or had a face to face with our colleagues more often? I understand that when you have offices spread across the globe this can act as another barrier, but really it’s even more important to have the personal touchpoint moments so that you can build better more effective relationships with those people in other offices.
Think before you send, is this a follow up email? If so, what could be a more effective communication route?