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Robert Bullard

writes about

Using Email

Robert Bullard is a copywriter of newsletters, case studies, flyers, websites and blogs; and he is an enthusiastic trainer in writing skills. Robert offers the expertise of a professional writer — he has written feature articles for The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph newspapers — with a rich range of employment experience: he has worked as a consultant in the private sector, held senior positions in local government, and managed a third sector organisation.

Robert's training courses cover three broad areas: Career Essentials (report writing, business writing, press releases); Writing for Today's Needs (websites and blogs); and the Fundamentals of Good English (such as grammar and proofreading).

In 2015, he authored the book Business Writing Tips: For Easy and Effective Results which you can read more about at his website - Perfect Text - via the company logo below.

In this article, Robert offers his tips for more effective emailing.

Robert writes:

OK — It's Email Confession Time!

Here are 10 questions – with suggested answers – to self-diagnose how good you are at managing and staying on top of your email.

Email Addiction?

1. How quickly do you expect a reply to your emails?
Don't get impatient. Be realistic. Why not establish norms in your office (a reasonable response time). Or send informative holding replies instead of overly-speedy email replies with possible mistakes.

2. Are you suffering from email addiction?
We are all guilty. It is not New Year, but as a resolution try and limit your checking to e.g. every 60–90 minutes (I use a minute timer so I know when time is up). Reward yourself when you keep to it for a day!

3. How many folders do you have for your email?
For easier tracking and retrieving, it's well worth having lots – do what you would do for your paper filing system.

4. What's the balance of your email inbox?
Are they 'background noise' emails, or emails with 'necessary information'. Unsubscribe from the former as much as you can – to decrease the ratio between these two.

5. What's the maximum number of times you open an email without actioning it?
If your answer is more than two, be careful. Try to Deal with emails in whatever way you can on their first viewing (or Delete them, Delegate them to someone else, or Defer to a specific date – follow the four D's.)

You're half way through – Five more questions to go …

6. Are your emails always understood?
How quickly, and at what cost, can you get a difficult conversation with someone back on the right track? Always check your writing – not just for mistakes and typos, check your tone of voice, anticipate people's queries, and check that your email can't be misunderstand. And if the issue is complicated, delicate, or there are several possible options etc., why not use the phone instead?

7. Do you update your subject line as the email conversation changes?
Definitely good practice – and lazy and confusing otherwise.

8. Have you ever missed or reduced the priority of an email sent to you because of the large number of recipients?
A lesson for yourself then. Use cc appropriately, and ask to be taken off irrelevant lists.

Reminder: always double-check your writing before pressing send!

Final two:

9. Have you sent/received an email without the necessary attachment?
When writing emails, get into the habit of adding any attachments FIRST, before you write the body of the email (and especially the email address) – that way you can't forget. Also, only send relevant attachments (sending multiple attachments is confusing and daunting for receivers), or refer people to an intranet document, website etc., where they can get access to what they need.

10. Ever sent an email you regretted?
Oops – but you are not the only one! And I guess you know the answer to prevent that happening again!

No regrets pressing Send.

All email images above with grateful thanks to

Contact Robert Bullard by visting his website Perfect Text here:
Perfect Text

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Please address any comments you may have about this article to:

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