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Making Your Email More Effective And Reduce Your Volume September 29, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, email.
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This isn’t really techie but I feel compelled to help you all today.  I just finished reading The Hamster Revolution by Mike Song, Vicki Halsey and Tim Burress.  I must say that you if you teach me how, I will tell others so that they too can educate everyone on improving our email.  These are my top 7 takeaways from the book to reduce email volume and make you more effective:

  1. If you can say it all in the subject line please do so, then end the subject line with EOM (End of Message)
  2. If you are annoyed with volumes of thank yous and acknowledgements use NTN and NRN (No Thanks Necessary, No Reply Necessary)
  3. Use these words when appropriate in your subject line: Action, Request, Info, Confirmed, Delivery
  4. Have a clear & helpful auto signature – include your phone number (duh)
  5. When crafting email, the body should be in the ABC format.  After the greeting use these Headings: Action Summary, Background, Close
  6. Use bullet points to keep things concise
  7. Use the “rules” feature to automatically sort your email  

My additions to this include:

  • For my construction industry friends put the JOB NUMBER or PROJECT NAME in the subject line! 
  • For my association friends, use the association letters AGC, ASA, CFMA, NAWIC etc in the subject line if association related.
  • If the email you received has a meeting date, drag the email to the calendar and set the date, start/stop times immediately so you don’t forget it!
  • If you use your phone to email, take the time to create shortcuts for Action, Request, Info, Confirmed, Delivery so they aren’t misspelled.

If you are interested in just how much lost time you spent with email there’s a chart on page 15…which shows you how many days per year you’ll save,  if you reduce your email volume by 20%.  There’s something to the beauty of brevity that we all appreciate.  Maybe that’s why Twitter has so many users today.  It forces you to think and get to the point! 

Have any other suggestions?  Especially things that are quick and easy…please share them with us all and add your comments to this blog.

Xobni Helping Hand for LinkedIn & Outlook July 13, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software.
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Haven’t heard of Xobni?  Its a plug-in that can really save you time!  I stumbled across it while using LinkedIn.  You can find people and email quickly with this tool, and it can improve your productivity.  What Xobni does is index the email in Outlook so you can find it about 50X faster.  With the option to connect to profiles in LinkedIn & Facebook, you will see the employer, job title & photo when sending or receiving email.  You’ll also have immediate access to their profile.  Your conversations will be threaded based upon the subject line to make it easier to spot who said what & when.  Xobni will find attachments by person too. 

It works as a sidebar in Outlook and acts as an automatic address book.  Look for a person and it will also display their phone number.  The sidebar displays recent emails and will find attachments by person too.  When you are looking at attachments it will place the most recent at the top of the list so if you have exchanged a few versions, you can can grab the current version quickly.  There’s even a search in the attachments if you need to look through the results list. 

A few other great features include Hoovers & Skype connectivity. But my favorite things are the statistics and email analytics.  From here you can tell what day you are slowest to respond to email and who you email most often. You can view what times your contacts send you emails most often, so you know when they are on-line and likely to pick up the phone.

The biggest drawback is it can create volumes of traffic on your Microsoft Exchange server.  In order to install it you’ll need admin privledges and if running off a Exchange server, you’ll want to use what’s called cached exchange mode.  If your administrator says no, don’t feel you’re locked out… you can still use it on your personal computer at home.

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