When I talk to people about making the right impact with their emails, people spend a lot of time making sure they choose the right words. But they often fail to ask themselves an equally important question: Should you send that email right now?
It is easy to feel pressure to send emails as quickly as possible.
What if you take to long to reply and someone else jumps in on the conversation? What if people question the importance of the topic to you, because you take too long to reply? What if you just plain forget to send the email, because you are so busy and the idea is in your head right now?
Let’s spend some time pulling these issues apart. I want to talk about some of the downsides of sending that email straight away, and provide some arguments for reasoned delay in sending emails.
Have you ever needed to write an important email, but found yourself procrastinating on it? I certainly have. I can think of days where by 10am I knew that there was one really important email that I needed to write, but I did not end up writing the email until 11pm at night. That is so frustrating! I know that it is a common experience.
For this reason – I often tell team members that I am happy to review any difficult emails that they need to write. I would much rather spend 10 minutes to review a team members email, and have them get on to more productive work, than to have them waste a day procrastinating. The result of this is that in the average week I review half a dozen important, but difficult, emails for other people.
Every time I read the email completely first. Then I ask the same starting question: “What is your objective with this email?”
Continue reading “When you have to write an important email, understand your objective”