What Can Eric Schmidt Teach You about Email Communication?

Google is, for the first time, the best place to work. As a company known to be creative, bold and daring, and, for many reasons, a desirable place to work, Google executives believe that Google’s model of managing can be fruitful to any company that hires smart and creative people, moreover, any company can take advantage of some new ways of managing that Google created.
This is the opinion of Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, and Jonathan Rosenberg, long-time Google executive, described and explained in their book “How Google Works”. 
In the book, Schmidt and Rosenberg (with Alan Eagle) shared insights about different managing rules, and corporate culture, focusing in some segments on the importance of effective communication and cooperation.   
Without a doubt, effective communication attracts the attention of everybody: researchers, employees, managers, executives, marketers, PR, and everyone else. Very few people master communication, which (roughly) means an ability to convey your message clearly, simply and concisely. With technology advancement, the way we communicate has changed (and is changing), and, today, communication is, in many ways, a key to effective collaboration.  
Email communication is an interesting topic, frequently making managers, leaders, executives and anyone who uses it, to pause and rethink the ways they convey their messages to their employees, customers, or higher-ups.  Even though email is an incredibly powerful way of communication, it can, in time, become a problem.    
However, email communication has rules, simple but effective. If you want to email like a professional, this is what Schmidt suggests:
#1 "Respond quickly. There are people who can be relied upon to respond promptly to emails, and those who can’t. Strive to be one of the former. Being responsive sets up a positive communications feedback loop (...)."
“Did my email get through the servers? Why aren’t they answering? Is my email not important?“, this is what we begin to think while waiting for a reply. While mobile devices help us keep up with important information, they are also the main reason we forget to answer while reading our messages on the go. Simple and short answer, “got it” or “OK” is enough, moreover, marking important messages “unread” can help.  A non-response for many people is seen as incompetence or disorganization, and this is not what you would want to show or reflect.
#2 "When writing an email, every word matters, and useless prose doesn’t. Be crisp in your delivery. Think about the late novelist Elmore Leonard’s response to a question about his success as a writer: “I leave out the parts that people skip.”"
Clear and brief, this is how your message should be. Today, a "send button" can bring more bad then good if one doesn’t clearly state the purpose of a message, or define the problem and describe it clearly. Today, one message can make or break the deal. Editing yourself and cutting out every extra word takes more time, but gives better results. Ask yourself “What can I cut?” every time before you click send.
#3 "Clean out your inbox constantly. When you open a new message, you have a few options: Read enough of it to realize that you don’t need to read it, read it and act right away, read it and act later, or read it later (worth reading but not urgent and too long to read at the moment). Choose among these options right away, with a strong bias toward the first two."
Think for a moment about the time you have wasted going through your inbox, re-reading the messages or trying to find certain documents. If you know the answer, respond immediately. If you need more time, tell a person you need it, and answer later, marking the message unread. Simply, organize your inbox.
#4 "When you use the bcc (blind copy) feature, ask yourself why. The only time we recommend using the bcc feature is when you are removing someone from an email thread."
We spend a lot of time trying to diffrentiate important from unimportant messages and information in our inbox. Try to make a habit out of moving people to the BCC field if they are not necessary for the thread. This is especially important if many teams are working on the same project. BCC is a great option, but use it wisely.
#5 "Don’t yell. If you need to yell, do it in person. It is FAR TOO EASY to do it electronically."
Some messages are better delivered in person, especially if what you have to say is regarding something negative, some sort of discipline talk or violation. Saying it in an email is disrespectful and want get you to an effective solution. “Discipline in private”, that’s your best approach to the problem. On the other hand, employees should hear the problem directly and get a chance to tell their side of the story. Keep emotions out of email.
#6 "Make it easy to follow up on requests. When you send a note to someone with an action item that you want to track, copy yourself, then label the note “follow up.”"
If you recall, 20 years ago email didn’t even exist, and business were doing just fine. When email communication took the stage, main benefits were seen in improving communication and collaboration and ORGANIZING your work. It’s easy to get lost in your inbox if you don’t organize yourself, even more, if you have an important project you’re are working on and there are things to be done, don’t waste time searching through email to find that message. The better you have your inbox organised, the better are the results.
Be an example in your company and lead the way toward better communication and emailing practice and rules.
Excerpted from the book HOW GOOGLE WORKS by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, with Alan Eagle. © 2014 by Google, Inc. 


Think for a moment about the time you have wasted going through your inbox, re-reading the messages or trying to find certain documents.

Leave a comment

9 + 5 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

© 2024 Copyright TallyFox Social Technologies AG, Zurich, Switzerland | TallyFox complies to Swiss law and the Swiss Data Protection Act