Responding to Emails: (By Harold R. Meyer and Susan K. Lasky)
- Read the email carefully.
- Decide how much time you will need to reply, then set a timer to keep track of the amount of time you spent responding to this email.
- Highlight questions that require an answer (hit ‘Reply’ then you can highlight, underline or list them separately).
- Reply as a ROUGH DRAFT - This draft IS NOT TO BE SENT!
o Answer only the questions you highlighted
o Do not worry about grammar, spelling or redundancy in this ‘sloppy copy’
o Do not edit anything you write until you have completed your entire rough draft
- Pause for a few seconds. Look away.
- Read the draft – out load, if possible.
- Look at each highlighted question and check that it was answered.
- Now you should edit your response: (pretending that the other person has no patience/time to read your email)
o Is it succinct and to the point? Eliminate as much as possible.
o Cover only the topic of the incoming email. Do not add anything outside of the single topic. New topics should be in a new email with a new Subject line.
o Remove any extraneous words, thoughts or sentences. Edit ruthlessly but quickly.
o Check for spelling/grammatical errors and punctuation.
o Did you answer the questions in the best possible way, within time limitations?
o Add any *required* niceties.
- What is the next step? Is action required from the recipient or from you? If so, clarify who needs to do what, and by when.
- If you have any questions, make sure they are written clearly and concisely.
- Hit ‘Send’
- Turn off the timer. Measure how long this took.
by Harold R. Meyer and Susan K. Lasky
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