Most every leader wants to have better communication with their team.
The challenge is that meetings are difficult and you cannot always have a face-to-face with your entire team or even the individuals you may need to share information with.
So you send out an email…
And then you wonder…
Did they open it?
Will they open it?
Did they understand the importance of it?
Will they do what you need them to after reading it?
And often, the issue with emails – especially with virtual teams, is that your team member’s inbox is flooded with other messages and (just like you) they aren’t always sure about which messages really ARE urgent or important.
And so rather than wondering if it will get opened or read, I would encourage you to consider adding a simple hack to all email communication for your team.
It truly is as easy as 1-2-3!
Here is what you do:
If an email is URGENT, at the end of the subject line, add an “IL1”
“IL1” tells your team that THIS MESSAGE NEEDS TO BE OPENED NOW!
It is an indication that the information inside the email is truly urgent and needs immediate attention. When you get something marked “IL1,” you know it is URGENT.
If an email is SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT, at the end of the subject line, add an “IL2”
“IL2”tells your team that THIS MESSAGE IS IMPORTANT, BUT NOT URGENT…
It is an indication that the information inside the email is SIGNIFICANT, BUT YOU DON’T NECESSARILY NEED TO OPEN IT NOW. When you get something marked “IL2,” you know it is important, but you can tackle it in the next 12-24 hours…
If an email is HELPFUL BUT CAN WAIT, at the end of the subject line, add an “IL3”
“IL3”tells your team that THIS MESSAGE IS USEFUL, BUT IT CAN WAIT…
It is an indication that the information is something that you may need to know or use in the future but does not require immediate attention. When you get something marked “IL3,” you know it can wait a few days if other things are demanding your attention.
Just three simple characters can keep your team from feeling overwhelmed when they look at their inbox.
Instead of nuclear DEFCON LEVELS, your team can get used to including simple clues about email IMPORTANCE LEVELS to ensure that what NEEDS to be read immediately gets read… and what can wait isn’t cluttering the recipient’s to-do list.
Your team will appreciate that what is just being shared as helpful or superfluous email communication is not adding to their stress level!
Remember – It is unkind to be unclear.
And one way you can make your email communication better is by adding a simple 1, 2, or 3 to the subject line to help your team understand what is truly urgent, what is somewhat important, and what is just helpful but inconsequential.
If you are looking for more ways to inspire your team to be more productive and profitable with their attitudes and efforts, consider sharing a copy of The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates.
Instead of specific strategies, this book is an entertaining story that will shift the mindset of your team… and often times a change is MINDSET is what is most needed to impact the successful implementation or execution of your strategy ; )