Randy Dean's Timely Tips

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Timely Tips© Volume 3, Issue 11; November 2006: Call Your E-mails (Part 1)

Keeping up with the craziness of a holiday week, I'd like to give everyone a short but sweet common sense time saver related to your e-mail. This is a tip I've been sharing in my "Taming the E-mail Beast" course, and is a great reminder for all of us to stay focused on efficiency and effectiveness when utilizing ANY communication tool.

The tip is simply this -- when you receive (or are about to send) an e-mail communication that is "fraught for misinterpretation", consider greatly whether e-mail is even the best option for making the communication. If you believe e-mail is going to create a "chain of miscommunication", meaning that you and the original sender/receiver are going to trade multiple e-mails trying to figure out what each other are saying, then maybe the smarter thing to do is actually pick up the phone or even just go find the person. I know it is an amazing concept, but, yes, you can actually have a live conversation with a person rather than simply send an e-mail! If the live conversation can help clear up the confusion, then the five minutes in conversation is a much more efficient and effective communication tool than trading numerous e-mails several times throughout the day, each taking a few minutes to read and respond to.

Now, I know this seems like a "no-brainer", but every single time I teach my time management and e-mail courses, I have people tell me about these frustrating and seemingly never ending e-mail "loops", where people are obviously miscommunicating, and yet no one thinks about "cutting off the loop", picking up the phone, and resolving the miscommunication or misunderstanding. I'm asking everyone to build an e-mail miscommunication "radar screen" and identify when they are in an inefficient e- mail loop, and then take the action to cut off the loop and solve the miscommunication via a phone call or personal contact.

I know -- this isn't rocket science -- but if you can get into the habit of cutting off those loops, you will literally save hours of time, and also tons of aggravation, by clearing up the miscommunications in a live conversational setting.

As I said, a short but sweet tip this month. Next month, another "Call Your E-mails" tip -- this one for PDA and smart-phone e-mailers. Have a wonderful turkey day (don't eat too much!), and until next month, Stay Timely!


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