Chris Anderson seems to be a popular guy; otherwise he wouldn’t have gone to great lengths to crowd-source a (very) serious Email Charter. His charter is a leading example of how a few simple rules can make the world of interpersonal communication run more smoothly. Maybe even faster, if that’s what you prefer.
Photo by Flickr user S Migol
Your inbox is a public to-do list, and everyone who gets hold of your email-address can add items to it. Even deleting them is a task. So what if every email would have a clear-cut subject, unambiguous question, straightforward request or valuable announcement? That must have been the emailotopia Chris had in mind, while working on these commandments.
I’ll share them with you, in the hope that you’ll stick to them – at least for work-related email, and maybe even a share of private email. If emails get the length of book chapters, it’s just a sign that you’ve neglected the friend you’re literally spamming. So go and see them. IRL. Better for you. And your inbox. Your happy, healthy, empty inbox.
1. It’s your responsibility to minimize the time it costs to reply to your email. The shorter, the faster it’s answered.
2. I have only been taught at school to write lengthy letters, not short emails. Short is not rude.
3. Use you subject line for useful information.
4. No open-ended questions. Or make it multiple choice.
5. No CC’s. No Reply All. Just don’t.
6. If a thread turns into more than three e-mails, start calling people instead.
7. Attachments should be attachments, not default added graphics files as logos or signatures.
8. Use these: EOM (= End of Message) and (NNTR) ( = No Need To Respond).
9. Using EOM and NNTR means: no contentless responses anymore.
10. Go outside! Stop emailing for a one or two days a week.
If you want to practice, request my email address here.