Thanks, but No Thanks
Email overload used to be a problem only for the super-connected. Now, basically everyone is feeling overwhelmed by the massive amount of email arriving in their inboxes on a daily (hourly?) basis.
I’ve got one simple rule to cut back on unnecessary emails. It may sound incendiary. But I promise, it’ll be worth it…
A Prime Culprit of Useless Emails
Quick quiz: how many emails have you gotten this week that said only, “Thanks” or perhaps, “Thanks so much!” If you’re like me, it’s a LOT.
Especially at work, the “thanks” email seems to have taken on a life of its own. Start out with a simple message: “Leftover sushi in the break room!” Add in a flagrant reply-all offender and some peer pressure, and suddenly you’ve got 19 emails from people saying “thanks” to unappetizingly ancient raw seafood.
But Wouldn’t It Be Rude…
Believe me, I’m a huge fan of manners. Gratitude should absolutely be expressed whenever appropriate.
But the drive-by “thanks” email isn’t really about saying “thank you.” It’s like a catchall for everything from “I acknowledge receipt of your message” to “I have nothing to say on this topic but I want people to think I’m paying attention.”
In fact, it’s much ruder to send that “thanks” email, if it’s just going to clog up people’s inboxes with pointless messages, than to refrain.
No More “Thanks” Emails
So here’s my rule to end email overload: nix the ambiguous “thanks” emails.
I know, I know. It’s a hard habit to break, but your email recipients will really appreciate it. If you need to say something, say it, like so:
“Hey – I got your email. I’m in a meeting now, but I’ll think it over and send you my thoughts this afternoon.”
“Got it – I’ll see you there at 7.”
“Nice work! I appreciate you making this happen at the last minute.”
And for goodness’ sake, if you must do a drive-by “thanks,” don’t reply all!
What do you think – can we create a world without pointless “thanks” emails? Let me know in the comments!
Brainy Business Book Review: Mastery by Robert Greene
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