Effective communication is essential to any organisation. If your organisation exchanges several hundred emails daily, it is not surprising that some communication can be missed. Inevitably, something falls through the cracks. How can you stay on top of your email communication? Consider these 10 tips on how to manage communications through Microsoft Outlook.
1. Make it a habit
If you receive 200+ emails daily, just going through them can take up most of your morning. But it is important to make a habit of going through your emails daily and making sure you’ve read each one, or at least been able to scan each one to get the ‘gist’ of each email. Make it a goal to end the day with zero unread emails in your inbox.
2. Make sure it’s updated
Take advantage of Microsoft 365’s newest features by regularly updating your software. The latest version of Microsoft Outlook features a ‘Focused’ Inbox and ‘Other’. Focused inbox contains emails that matter most to you, while Other contains non-urgent ones. You can stay productive by removing any distractions and placing them on the Other inbox.
3. Set up rules
Setting up rules will help you organise your inbox. You can set up rules so that non-urgent emails are automatically moved to a different folder, while urgent emails are highlighted in the Focused inbox. You can also set up a rule wherein you can automatically mark an email as spam if it contains specific keywords.
4. Check your time zones
If you’re working with a remote team, it is essential to add their time zones in Outlook and Calendar. This will help you find out when they are working and when you can expect a reply back. Make sure you’ve selected the correct time zone in the preferences.
5. Use an appropriate tool
A lot of email communication can be eliminated if the appropriate tool is used. Scheduling meetings can be done using a Calendar app. You can minimise the back-and-forth of finding a time when everyone is available, if everyone in the team or project uses a Calendar. Project management tools can also help minimise back-and-forth with project updates. There are also chat software, such as Slack, which is specially designed for the workplace and can be used for less formal communication.
6. Do not use it to store your files
“Should I delete this? I might need this someday.” This is a dilemma that every email user faces daily! But it is important to keep in mind that a clutter-free workspace is a productive workspace. After reading the email, either delete it or move it to a different folder. Do not keep it in your inbox.
7. Check your automated responses
Make sure they have the most updated information. Outdated information will only result in more emails. People will reply back to your email confused and upset that they have been provided with the wrong information. Set up a time to review all your automated responses.
8. Keep it straight to the point
Avoid using jargons and use clear and plain language. Even though your team members are expected to understand the jargon, it can still impede understanding and cause confusion.
9. Schedule a call instead of an email
If you’re writing a 3-paragraph email, it might be best to schedule in a quick 10-minute video call with the person. Once it’s been sorted out over the phone, you can send a follow-up email summarising what was discussed and agreed on during the call.
10. Set up a meeting
For big announcements where all the team are impacted, it is best to set up a meeting rather than announcing any changes over email. An email can seem a bit impersonal and a face-to-face meeting can be the best option instead.
Getting through your email inbox need not consume so much time. Get the control back and manage your email communication effectively in Microsoft Outlook and by following the above simple tips. If you would like to know more, please check out our Microsoft Outlook Courses.