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Reducing Long Email Chains

How To Reduce Long Email Chains at Work

Emails and SMS are quite different, but for some reason people aren’t treating them different. Have you ever been part of an 10+ email chain that is still being sent back and forth. This type of communication does no one good. At the end the only outcome is wasted time and effort. We’re going to talk about ways to reduce this clutter.

 

Subject Line

This is the first mistake often made by people. The subject line is to the email as a title is to a self-help book. The title is not only meant to draw your attention but to give you a glimpse into what you are about to be reading. Think “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” and not “The Last Juror: A Novel“. A tactic often used is to be very direct. Your subject line should include keywords on the matter your about to discuss and intent. At work you don’t need to put marketing efforts to emails, people will appreciate less emails than your click-worthy subject line.

 

Message

If your email is a call to action, don’t bury the action needed. If you are just communicating a status update or a request, highlight this. People don’t understand tone in email, they apply their own. You want to avoid any points where the recipient will need to ask for clarification on a piece of information. A good way to avoid clarification points is using the “If-This-Then-That” tactic. An example is:
“Hi Bob,
Please submit your expense reports. If you have lost any receipts, then contact Barbara in Finance for the proper form. If you have everything, then submit the expense reports to Derek in Finance.”
Another tactic is using bullet points like a multiple choice question. This will let the user find their circumstance and the correct action to take.
  • If you have lost any receipts, then contact Barbara in Finance for the proper form.
  • If you have everything, then submit the expense reports to Derek in Finance.
If it is an update than include put the project or area with the results. Emails have the capabilities for graphs and videos, you should use them if necessary. Pictures give people a quicker understand than words.

 

Reply

Using the Reply All button is only necessary if you are bringing an update or a call-to-action to the chain. If someone is giving you an update and you want to show gratitude then thank them directly. If you want to inform the rest of the party that the matter is closed, you are giving an update and that will be appreciated by everyone. A good tactic is updating the subject line to let everyone know instantly “[CLOSED]” or “[COMPLETED]“. Remember what we talked about with the subject line.

 

Meeting

When attempting to schedule a meeting availability is always the point of concern. If there a multiple times that a meeting can be done, than include the different dates and times. If this is an urgent meeting, make sure to declare this immediately. If someone is asking you for a meeting time that you can not attend, don’t reply with “Can’t make it”. This is rude and dismissive. Offer times that work for you. Multiple times will lead to better outcomes.


In short, you can do many things that will provide efficient use of everyone’s time and attention. Always remember that if the matter needs to be tended to immediately you should be using the phone and not an email.

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Hospitality professional with in-depth knowledge of front and back office operations, consulting top-level executives with innovative strategies, industry best practices, and providing a custom framework for increasing profitability. Pre-opening team member of properties in the United States and Macau, all ranging from small boutique to mega casino resorts.

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