Emailing Rules: Here’s 9 from Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman

Internet has changed the life-style of most. Usual morning used to start with newspapers, and now starts with checking emails, online newsportals, facebook or twitter feeds and other.

As comparatively new to the technologies, Bangladeshis often find themselves baffled with emails e.g. email language, correspondence. And we often spend dim hours trying to figure how to write ‘an email’ effectively.

In a book ‘How Google Works‘ that came out on 23 September, Google’s executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt and former Senior Vice President of Products Jonathan Rosenberg talked about 9 rules of emailing that may comfort the unquiet feeling. Let’s have a look at those with a view of my own with it:

1. “Respond promptly”: Reliability can be a tricky thing and your response to emails may often work as a indication of it. Most of the best—and busiest—people act quickly on their emails, not just to big people like Eric and Jonathan or to a select few senders, but to everyone. It sets up a positive communications feedback process in any kind of communication. Even the responses can be quite short like “got it” or ‘Ok’.

2. “When writing an email, every word matters, and useless prose doesn’t. Be crisp in your delivery.”:

Don’t make emails long with stuff that people would not read or can’t relate with the email. Try to be concise. It makes reader in the process of communicating. That can also become as an expression for you. Often your email may be skipped by the reader for such issue.

3. “Clean out your inbox constantly”: This one is second favorite. I usually try to keep up with my emails but often when I am busy I keep them for later on to read. But then I find myself trying to figure out which ones to read and to reply? According to Eric and Jonathan, “Any time you spend thinking about which items in your inbox you should attack next is a waste of time. When you open a new message, you have a few options: Read enough of it to realize that you don’t need to read it, read it and act right away, read it and act later, or read it later (worth reading but not urgent and too long to read at the moment).

4. “Handle email in LIFO order (Last In First Out). Sometimes the older stuff gets taken care of by someone else”: First part is perfect, no matter who you are-organization or individual. But the second part, taking care of emails by someone else, is usually true for organizations. For individuals, they may try to make it a to-do list by sorting the emails by priority of time.

5. “Remember, you’re a router”. Information matters. And building the trend to share information can become handy. When you get a note with useful information, consider who else would find it useful. At the end of the day, make a mental pass through the mail you received and ask yourself, “What should I have forwarded but didn’t?”. That way it can also ease your pressure if you are working in a group.

6. “When you use the bcc (blind copy) feature, ask yourself why”: Why you need to bcc someone is a question we often do not ask while bcc-ing and end up being in a controversial situation.

7. “Don’t yell”: True as Eric and Jonathan puts in, “If you need to yell, do it in person. It is FAR TOO EASY to do it electronically.”

8. “Make it easy to follow up on requests”: The writers suggested to copy oneself in the email while assigning task with a catch phrase follow-up. That way it’s easy to track and ask whether the work is done or not. It gives the email receiver an exact idea what to do and to get back.

9. “Help your future self search for stuff. If you get something you think you may want to recall later, forward it to yourself along with a few keywords that describe its content.”: This is something I usually do and for which I have two accounts. I forward the emails that I may need for future use putting a catch phrase in the subject line and send it to my other email. Sounds bit lengthy but in times of easy references, that comes handy.

The book is a good read for organization staffs as it deals mostly with organizational issues. I hope the 9 points described by Eric and Jonathan will help readers to be more organized in emailing.

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