How to be “Good” at Email

We know. Email is the bane of most businesspeople’s existence. The emails pour in, many of them aren’t fun to answer, and several aren’t very important to us. But how we interact with others helps form their opinion of us as individuals, as leaders, as employees. And those interactions include our online communication. So here are a few practices we should all try to turn into habits:

1. The “Zero Inbox”

You’ve heard of it. Maybe you know someone who has seen it. The rare and elusive empty inbox is a goal that many of us would do well to strive for. Many people fear losing information in an email. Archive or file it. The point is for your main inbox to be empty. This could be a daily or weekly goal. By doing this, you assure that you get to everything and that nothing gets lost in the  shuffle. It is also a lot less stressful to look at than an inbox that’s busting at the seams.

2. Respond Quickly

Even if you don’t have time for a full response or answer, just say that you will follow up when you get time to send a complete answer. Long delays signal a lack of importance. You don’t want to make others feel that you think that about them or their work as it relates to you.

3. Clarity

Nothing is obvious in online communication. So much is lost when you lose face-to-face interaction. Don’t risk being misunderstood. Be clear in your explanations and instruction. This will result in less stress and better feelings all around.