The Email Charter: the way to save digital overload.

So, as an admin (yes, I know I always mention my job), I spend lots of time sending and receiving emails. The other day, I came across a link to the Email Charter  from a colleague’s email signature. I had a nose around and thought to myself ‘what a lovely idea!’ My next thought was that I must share it with you all.

To give you some background knowledge, the Email Charter started off as a blog post by TED Curator Chris Anderson and TED Scribe Jane Wulf , in response to widespread acknowledgement that email is getting out of hand for many people. So, in essence, the Email Charter outlines 10 rules when it comes to email, which are as follows:

Respect recipient’s time

Before sending out the email, take a few moments to think about how much time this will take the receiver to process.

Short or Slow is not rude:

Considering the email load we all have, we should mutually agree that it can take people a while to respond and that it’s ok if detailed responses are not given.

Celebrate clarity:

Clearly state the topic in the subject line, with a status category if possible. Please also avoid strange colours and fonts.

Quash open-ended questions:

Questions such as ‘thoughts?’ or ‘how can I help?’ are not exactly helpful. It is better to have easy-to-answer questions such as ‘can I help by setting up this meeting?’

 Cut extra cc’s:

This one annoys me a lot – every time a recipient is added, response time is multiplied. When there are multiple recipients, please do not click ‘Reply All’ – think about who actually needs a response.

Tighten the thread:

In some cases, due to context threads are rightly included, but this shouldn’t really extend to more than 3 emails. Consider cutting out information that is not relevant before sending the email out, or maybe a phone call would be more appropriate.

Attack attachments:

Please don’t use attachments as logos or signatures. More importantly, do not send text as attachment, where it could have been copied and pasted into the body of the email.

 Make use of jargon:

If your message is very short, just put it in the subject line, followed by EOM (End Of Message).  You can also add NNTR (No Need To Respond) to messages that are sent out for information purposes only.

 Cut countless responses:

Some emails really do not require a reply, if they are themselves a response. For example, an email saying ‘thanks for the invite’ does not need you to reply ‘great’ or ‘no problem’.

 Disconnect:

If we all agree to spend less time sending emails, we would receive fewer emails.

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