Another blog on email. How boring you say. Well, let’s go ‘Deep’ on this one, as in Deepak Chopra.
Yes, this was a surprise to me, too, as I am most familiar with Mr. Chopra as an author and lecturer on wholeness and his suggestions for living an engaging life.
When I saw this blog “5 reasons it’s a good idea to instantly respond to emails” (read it here) I was initially engaged by the relevance of subject. Then I saw his name as the co-author and of course the link between his name and what otherwise may be a mundane subject further grabbed my attention.
As it turns out, he and his co-author, Kabir Sehgal, are contributors to the “Leadership” forum posts on CNBC.com. Mr. Chopra has greater name recognition but his co-author, Mr. Sehgal is a former vice president at JPMorgan Chase, a multi-Grammy Award winner as well as a U.S. Navy veteran. They have the credibility to write on leadership, but why such a mundane subject as responding to e-mail?
Other forms of communication have supplemented, or even begun to eclipse, good old email. However, it is still the standard of communications in the business world.
However, my observation has been that how we handle our emails is all over the board. There are opinions aplenty on the best way to handle the volume of email we receive. Yet one thing I have noticed as well is how inconsistent we all are in simply responding to a professional and solicited email.
To be clear, spam and unsolicited email need to be handled differently. Yet how often do you send an email to a client or colleague and it seems to just fall into something like the infamous ‘black hole?’
This is the situation Chopra and Shegal address in their blog. How does this relate to leadership? In my opinion it says a lot about a person, and their communications skills, when a prompt professional response is received.
As they point out, however, “When it comes to email correspondence, there seems to be two types of people: those who acknowledge that they received an email and those who don’t.”
They go on to list five reasons that they endorse the first group and encourage prompt response.
- It’s courteous: Personal and professional courtesy is always welcome. “By sending a quick acknowledgement email, you are being polite, well-mannered, and respectful.”
- You will be seen as reliable: Establishing a trusting relationship is invaluable. “When you send email acknowledgments to those who contact you, you are also letting them know that you are responsive, prompt, and even trustworthy. Those who send you messages will know you’re a reliable person. You are giving the impression that you mean business and appreciate speed in your correspondence.”
- It forces you to act: I find it too easy to let an email slide down the list in my inbox. I will get to it later. “Don’t wait around for your inbox to overflow. As soon as you get something that requires a response, shoot the sender a quick note. When you respond to someone, it creates a sense of personal accountability and shows that you’re going to take care of whatever you said that you would.”
- It buys you time: We are an impatient world. However, “Your email acknowledgements don’t need to be long. You can simply say ‘OK’ or ‘Understood.’ By using these staccato statements, you are buying yourself time for contemplation and deliberation. Instead of someone waiting for your long reply, they will relax and cut you some slack that whatever they are requesting will get done.”
- It helps you achieve inbox zero: A great goal by any measure. “When you reply quickly, you can move onto the next message. If you’re moving with a brisk tempo, you may be able to achieve “inbox zero” — that magical moment when your email inbox has zero messages that need a response. For those of you who are compulsive about communication, there is no greater accomplishment when it comes to email productivity.”
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