Dawn Bjork Buzbee
The Software Pro®
Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT)
Certified Microsoft Office 2010 Specialist (MOS 2010) Master Instructor
Certified Microsoft Office 2007 Specialist (MOS 2007) Master Instructor
Microsoft Certified Application Specialist (MCAS) Instructor
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In Part 1 of this two-part series, we looked at how you
can start improving your e-mail effectiveness by creating and formatting
easy to follow content, and by using pre‑written responses. In this
section, discover ways to stop unnecessarily contributing to other people’s
overflowing Inbox, and look at some of the e-mail practices to avoid
when you are writing your next e-mail message. (Note: although some of
the features mentioned are specific to Outlook, most of these ideas can
help you manage your e-mail and time regardless of the e-mail program
How to Reduce the Volume of E-mail
Some of the top ways to cut the amount of e-mail you
receive are to manage the number of messages you send, reduce
unnecessary follow-up replies, and determine when person-to-person
communication is a better choice.
Decrease the Number of Messages You Send
Before you write your next e-mail, seek to actively
reduce how much e-mail you send:
Read all replies on a topic before responding
to the original message. Resist getting involved with e-mail threads
that don’t impact your objectives.
Don’t send, and discourage your staff from sending,
“chime-in” messages with unimportant responses such as “Thank
you” and “You’re welcome.” Don’t respond to junk mail.
Avoid Reply to All unless all recipients need
to see your response. Otherwise you are contributing to their e-mail
Limit the number of people to whom you send a
message to those who need to read it.
Put people who need to respond or take action on the
Put people who need to be informed on the Cc (carbon
copy) line. Although it may seem easier to send a message to
everyone in a department or your organization, first ask yourself,
“Who needs to know? Why?” Most people who get a carbon copy assume
there is something they are supposed to do.
Use Bcc (blind carbon copy) to hide large
distribution lists or to disguise the names of select recipients.
All recipients can respond to a message but replies will not be
received by anyone in the Bcc list which reduces the amount of
e-mail they get. (see Best Practices for Using Bcc below)
Choose Voice Instead of E-mail
There are often times when phone, face-to-face
conversations or even an instant or text message are a much better
choice to e‑mail. Pick up the phone or arrange a meeting when:
Building rapport is critical.
The topic is emotionally charged.
There are many intertwined issues to resolve or
there is a need for lengthy interactive discussions.
If you want an immediate response, phone or send an
Best Practices for Using Bcc
Plan ahead. Before you add an intended
recipient's name to the Bcc box in a message, make sure that the
recipient is expecting your message. That person may need to take
steps to establish you as a safe sender (or a safe recipient, if
your name will be in the To box of the message).
Why is this necessary? Using Bcc is a favorite technique of
spammers. Therefore, a lot of junk e-mail filters flag messages that
use the Bcc box as junk. So if your intended recipient has not added
your name to the Safe Senders List in Microsoft Outlook, your
message may go straight to the Junk E‑mail folder.
Reduce spam. Although people who send junk
e-mail or spam may like to use Bcc, they won't like it if you use
it. If you hide the recipients' names by listing them in the Bcc
box, no one will be able to copy the recipients' e-mail addresses
from your messages.
Know your limits. Many e-mail service
providers set limits for the number of names that can be included in
the To, Cc, and Bcc boxes in a message. For example, your e-mail
service provider may limit each message to a maximum of 100 e-mail
addresses. If these addresses are distributed among the To, Cc, and
Bcc boxes, remember that the names in the Bcc box will count toward
your total limit. Ask your e-mail service provider or e-mail
administrator about the policies for your account.
Keep the recipient list private. Bcc can help
you to be respectful of others' privacy by keeping them in the loop
without disclosing their identities. For example, if you send a job
announcement to multiple people, you may want to use Bcc to keep the
identities of the potential job seekers private.
The Don'ts for Writing Great E-mail
Don't send a follow-up message less than a day after
the first message. If you don’t hear back in a timely manner, trying
picking up the phone.
Don't use ALL CAPS.
Don't use sarcasm. Your humor may be misunderstood.
Don't use stationery.
Don't send a message when you are angry or
frustrated. Better to write it, save it to your Drafts folder, and
come back to it later. Or, don’t even write it until later.
Don't include your manager on every message you
Don't write something you wouldn’t want everyone in
your company to read. You never know where your e-mail might end up.
If you wouldn’t put it on a postcard, it probably shouldn’t be in an
Don't use read receipts or delivery receipts on
every message you send. Use them only if you are unsure if your
recipients will receive the message.
Don't use decorative or funky fonts that can be hard
Don't attach flags or a High Importance marker to
every message you send. Your recipients will learn to ignore them.
Put these techniques to work to create better e-mail
messages and to reduce the volume of e‑mail you send.
This article is an excerpt from my
Outlook 2010 Tips, Tricks & Techniques book.
101+ Ways to Make the Most of Microsoft
Outlook 2010 Tips, Tricks & Techniques
for E-mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks & Notes
Value priced for as little as $15!
Click Here to Grab Your Copy Now!
© Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro®
Dawn Bjork Buzbee
is The Software Pro®
and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office
Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist
(MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart
and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software
speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.
This article and
more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with
copyright and attribution.
more about how easy it is to share these valuable tips, tricks, and techniques.
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Press [F7] to check spelling
in an Outlook message or other item.
|The Ribbon was first
introduced with Microsoft Outlook 2007 and fully available in all
areas of Outlook with Outlook 2010.