Email is a tricky thing. On one hand, seeing every message is crucial (especially if you own a business), leaving us sweeping our inboxes every five minutes. On the other, we’re trying to curb and cull email to prevent complete takeover.
So in this week’s blog we tackle two topics: Should you send a follow-up email? and how to curb the email overload.
Why you should always send a follow-up email
You’ve picked up the phone, pitched the idea and received a positive response. The next question is, do you send a follow up email? (And when does it cross the line?)
The answer is, always send a follow up email, and do it straight away.
Within 24 hours (and preferably asap), remind them of who you are, recap the points discussed, and what you want to achieve. Keep it short and succinct, and include a link to more information. If you’re speaking to a journalist, paste the additional information in the body of the email instead – i.e. write the email, sign off with ‘Thank you for your time, please find further information below’ and drop the information in. Journalists are always short on time and it’s easier to scroll down on a phone than clicking a link.
What if you don’t hear back?
If a week has passed and you still haven’t heard back, send another follow up. If you still don’t receive a response, pick up the phone. Tip: when calling, have some new information in your back pocket so you have a relevant reason to call which isn't just self-serving.
If they haven’t said no, it’s appropriate to continue contacting them until you receive a concrete answer – as long as you are polite and not doing so every few days. Sometimes the timing just isn’t right but it could be down the track. In this day and age, an email can be easily overlooked, so calling to follow up can put you back on the radar.
Most inboxes in today’s digital-rich, information saturated world are bursting at the seams, which is why at the same time, it’s important to curb the email overload. Think of all the time you spend replying to emails as soon as they popup, deflecting your attention from revenue-focused tasks. Outside of work, how many times has email caused stress and sleepless nights? It’s why many blogs today will tell you it’s critical to unplug or to ‘digitally detox’.
Get a head start with these quick tips to declutter your inbox and regain control of email.
1. CONTROL WHEN YOU CHECK EMAIL
Block out two, three or four time slots in your calendar each day to check emails.
It will let you single task your responses, make better decisions and write quality responses.
2. TURN OFF EMAIL ALERTS TO REMOVE CONSTANT DISTRACTIONS
Multi-tasking is only possible when tasks are familiar and routine – completing one task at a time without distractions is a much more effective way to work.
3. MANAGE EXPECTATIONS
Set up your signature block to advise others that you only check emails at certain times of day, and let recipients know how they can reach you urgently, whether it’s by text or phone call.
4. KEEP YOUR INBOX TO A MINIMUM
Clearing out your inbox will ensure you don’t miss a thing.
There are two ends of the spectrum, but it’s important to be smart about using email so that you can make the most of this tool and still breakaway from checking your inbox every five minutes.