If you don’t care about appearing smart in emails, you can stop reading now.
In the corporate world, there is no ground more fertile for appearing smart than the rich earth that is electronic communication. Your email writing, sending and ignoring skills are just as important as your nodding skills, and even more important than your copying and pasting skills. Here are 15 email tricks that will make you appear smart, passionate, dedicated and most of all, smart.
Always complain about your email volume, but never be the first to say a specific number. I once complained because I had 200 unread emails and I was laughed out of the breakroom. Instead, find out how much email everyone else gets, and then double it. That’s how much email you get.
It’s impossible to pay attention to every active thread all the time, but you must at least pay attention when your manager responds. Make sure you see the moment he responds, and then respond immediately with “Totally agree,” “Definitely,” or “Took the words right out of my mouth.”
Feature launched? Respond: W00t way to go! Baby on the way? Respond: Mazel tov! Peanut brittle on Brian’s desk? Respond: This is delicious! Whenever something good happens, always be the first to respond and always reply all. This will make you seem like a highly engaged team player.
- a question about the status of a project
- a thought you have about organizational structure
- a ridiculous feature request
- a link to an “interesting” article
- an “interesting” tidbit about a competitor (something we should all be “paying attention to”)
Start every other email with this snippet and you’ll immediately impress your colleagues. They probably won’t read much past this, so feel free to follow it with a meaningless data point on this month’s returning users or the new engineer that’s joining the team in 4 months.
Going to the airport? It’s important to let everyone know when you’ll be in a cab, on the train, going through security, at the gate, on the plane, at baggage claim, in another cab, and back at the office — as well as the minute to minute status of your Internet access every step of the way.
Start every email with a bullet point summary, labeled “TL;DR” (Too long; don’t read). In it, summarize the main points of your email, using bold and italic formatting. The rest of the email can be a mistake-laden mess because it’s very long and most likely no one will read it.
- If you don’t care about the future of this company, stop reading now…
- If you know all there is to know about quantum physics, stop reading now…
- If you’re not curious where I’ll be for the next hour, stop reading now…
LGTM, SGTM, FWIW, AFAIK, CIL. Use them all. Find more here.
Never respond to direct requests right away. If your help is truly needed, that person will find you, but most likely he’ll just ask someone else. After 7 days has passed, respond with, “This got buried, still needed?”
If you’re unable to respond to email for even just a day, create an Out of Office auto-responder that includes several people to get in touch with for each of your projects. For extra points, create an entire document that details everything you’re working on and who to contact during your absence. Nothing you do will ever make you appear more smarter.