Consolidating Emails: Help Keep Your Exec's Inbox In Check!

April 28, 2016

 

Related to my previous blog post about the importance of recommendations, I recommend keeping the notion on your radar that the person you support is constantly being inundated with emails.

 

Here a few tips to help keep your executive's email flood in check:

 

Move your executive to Bcc 

Executives are copied on so many emails that it's likely they will appreciate any opportunity to be moved to Bcc. One example of a time they will not need to be on an email chain any longer is when it's a calendaring request. They don't need to read all the back and forth about who is available and when. Here's an example of how I would handle that situation:

 

From: Christina Holzhauser

To: Adam Smith

Cc: Executive

Subject: RE: Schedule a call this week?

 

Hi Adam,

 

I can help find a time for a call this week with [insert your executives's name]. 

Moving [Executive] to Bcc.

 

I'll take a look at the schedule and will send some times later today.

 

Thank you,

 

Christina Holzhauser

 

Consolidating emails

Avoid sending one-off emails unless they are time sensitive or of high importance. I do recommend acknowledging that a request for a task has been received, but there are so many items that can be grouped into a general updates email.

 

A daily practice of mine is composing an email draft at the start of the day and making the subject "Updates." I'll add all updates throughout the day that my executive needs to be in the loop about in there. If questions come up, I'll change the subject to "Questions/Updates" and will add a section for questions. I recommend keeping questions at the top of the email so your executive doesn't have to scroll down before realizing there's action needed on his/her part. Here's an example:

 

From: Christina Holzhauser

To: Executive

Subject: Questions/Updates

 

Hi [executive's name],

 

I wanted to touch base about the following:

 

Questions:

  • Blah blah blah?

  • Blah blah blah?

 

Updates:

  • Blah blah blah

  • Blah blah blah

 

Thank you,

 

Christina Holzhauser

 

If there's an important question that you need to highlight, you could add a note such as "Important" next to it, make it bold or in all caps. Here's an example:

 

Questions:

  • IMPORTANT: Blah blah blah?

  • Blah blah blah?

 

Cc-ing your executive

Before copying your executive on an email, think about if they really need to be on there. If someone replies then your executive will be on every one of those additional emails.

 

One way to keep your executive in the loop without copying them is by using the end of day updates email (see section above). You could attach relevant emails in there and summarize key points in the updates section. 

 

If you feel it's necessary to copy your executive, do your best to anticipate questions the readers on the email might have and provide those answers up front. That will help increase the possibility that your initial email might be the only one.

 

Also, you could request for the group on the email to reply just to you instead of replying all if there are any further questions. If questions come through and you feel a follow-up email is needed to send additional updates, your executive will just be on that one follow up email vs. every single email with every single question and answer. 

 

Be concise and precise

Before you send an email to your executive or copy him/her on one, do a once over to see if there are any areas that can be minimized so it can be as condense as possible. You could also achieve this by using bullets. That can help your email look organized and allow your executive to do a quick scan instead of having to sort through a sea of words to get to the point.

 

Also, be precise. As the famous writer Elmore Leonard stated, "Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip" (The Atlantic).  Choose words carefully to avoid ambiguity and misinterpretation. The more precise you are upfront, the less likely you'll see subsequent emails seeking additional clarity.

 

Don't compose an email

If you know there's a possibility you will get some face time with your executive, you could share any updates or ask them questions then. If you utilize the updates email suggestion above, then you can easily print that out or refer to the draft on your phone or laptop to reference at a moment's notice.

 

What tactics do you use to help keep your executive's inbox in check? Please share in the comments below!

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