Do you receive too many e-mails, as a Project Manager?

The purpose of e-mailing is to communicate information. The fact of sending e-mails is not communicating. Communication occurs when a message is sent, and the recipient reads it. A key goal of e-mailing is to get a human response, I mean an acknowledgement of the content or a response to the intent of the e-mail. Non communicative e-mailing occurs when no reply is intended, such as sending out meeting materials or simply sharing information. These are instances of distributing information, not communicating.

Teams tipically distribute and communicate information. Communicating by e-mailing is much more challenging than sending out information. It takes crisp, clear, and compelling language and techniques. In order to make your e-mails more readable and reply friendly I suggest you the following tips:

1.- The shorter, the better. Be concise and specific. A long e-mail need to be organized into short bullet statements. You may also use paragraph titles because are also helpful indexing a long e-mail for the reader.

2.- State what you want. It helps to state what you want up front and specify if there are any actions and deadlines requested. It is even better when the action requested is embedded in the title of the e-mail.

3.- Start positive and end positive. You need to structure e-mails: start positive, state your message, and then end positive. Start the e-mail with a positive greeting and acknowledging the other person’s e-mail. This is nothing more than two to four words: “Thanks for writing”, “Good hearing from you”, and so on. A short, positive acknowledgement and greeting helps prepare the reader. After this opener, present the content of the message in a brief and concise note. Then end by closing with a positive and genuine remark:”Thanks for considering my note”, “I appreciate your support” and so on.

Everybody appreciates good e-mail manners. Even a critical message will be better communicated when it is framed in a positive and genuine way. This is the easiest and most effective piece of advice for publishing e-mails. People enjoy reading a positive e-mail amog their sea of messages, especially when the e-mail praises their behaviors. It is a win-win situation.

They look forward to receiving your e-mails, and you have a good chance that they will read it. And remember that everybody always reads their happy e-mails first. In general, e-mailing is an effective and fast way of recognizing and praising others. A written recognition is a keepsake that the recipient can read again and again. E-mailing is a quick and easy way to help motivate others. How many recognitions do you receive in your e-mail each day?

People needs to make an special effort to make their first e-mail of the day a positive one that acknowledges and praises someone.It sets a good tone for the rest of the day.


Alfonso Bucero. MSc, CPS, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow

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