Google’s advice for businesses that use its cloud-based productivity software G Suite includes some universal tips for improving the e-mail flow among any group of co-workers. Here are some of their tips.
1 | Use smarter subjects in your email
Typically, email is grouped together with the same subject in conversation threads.
Make your original subject line precise and descriptive so that messages are linked together in a relevant way, easy to find.
Good subject line: Acme Inc proposal meeting follow-up assignments
Bad subject line: Follow-up
If the topic changes later, change the subject accordingly. That way, you won’t have any unrelated messages linked together in your inbox.
2 | Be deliberate about who you send email to
Need to send a message to a mailing list? Consider if everyone in the group really needs to get the message, and explain at the start of the email why you’re sending it to that group. If you don’t expect a response from some recipients, use the Cc or Bcc fields in the email to just let them know what’s going on.
3 | Make it obvious when you’re adding or removing someone from an email conversation
When you have email conversations with large groups of people, it’s sometimes difficult to know when someone is added or dropped from the thread. For example, in Gmail, you can use the plus (+) or minus (-) sign when adding or removing people from a conversation. Type “+Bob” at the start of the message when you add him to a conversation to let everyone else know he’s joined the conversation. Later, if you want to limit the discussion to a smaller audience, let people know you’re removing others by typing “-Bob.” Now, everyone knows exactly who’s included in the conversation.
4 | Use video or chat instead of email
If an email thread is getting long or confusing, it may be easier to talk in person. Use Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, etc. Chat can cut through the chatter of email, as well.
5 | Attach discussion items to email
It is challenging to hold people’s attention in a long email or email thread. Keep email messages short and add attachments to your messages for the long, detailed information like discussion items for an upcoming meeting.