Back to Basics – Email Standards

Waaaaay back in 2012, I got a call asking me to train a company’s leadership team on email basics.  The frustrated owner told me “When we hire people we put them through extensive training on our products and services, but then we just plop them in front of their email and expect them to be efficient with zero training.” 

Futurists have been predicting the end of email for nearly 20 years.  There have been huge improvements in collaborative tools like Asana, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Dropbox, but – like it or not – email isn’t going away anytime soon.  And because email software is so varied and so open-ended, there can be drastic differences in the ways that different team members use it.

When I received this call in 2012, I created a workshop on the effective use of email that I taught to this woman’s leadership team, and then started teaching it to other groups as well.  Nine years later, I still get requests for this training every once in a while from leaders who are frustrated and desperate to increase their teams’ communication effectiveness and efficiency.

One of the resources I provided in the training that was always well-received was a suggested set of email and calendar standards that leaders could bring back and implement for their team or company.  Like many tools, the magic is not in the tool itself but in the shared expectations of how that tool is used.

I can’t replace all the content of a half-day workshop with a single workbook.  However, I believe good leaders can secure a great deal of effectiveness and efficiency simply by using this workbook to create a shared set of standards, and then enforcing those standards in their teams.

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