When working with committees or clients for national associations from various time zones, communication tends to be done through email. Have you ever worked with someone who communicated with you about the event solely by cc’ing you on emails? And this person then assumed you knew everything that was being communicated? Perhaps you are this person? Or are you that person who receives an email, marks it as unread to review again at another time, but does not do this in a timely manner?
These are things that need to be considered when sharing information via email with a group of people working together on the planning of an event.
Ensure that all involved in the email chain completely understand what is relevant.
When sending an email to multiple people about a topic that affects each person differently it is important to clearly explain all the details explicitly. Simply carbon copying or forwarding an email chain will confuse and frustrate people. The best way to include people is to create a new email – with no chain of previous emails- with a new subject line, clearly outlining the different points from that previous email chain. Also include the name of the person that each area is pertaining to keep things clear. Break down the email to state the facts, and who they affect and who is responsible for each task and if applicable include a timeline for each task.
Remember that people don’t have the time in their day to begin at the start of an email chain to find out the relevance of their being cc’d at the end of it.
People are busy. According to a report prepared by The Radicati Group Inc. in 2015, the average business professional received/sent 125 email messages in one day. Providing a clear concise message will help a person use their time wisely while managing their in-box.
What if you are receiving these emails, how do you interpret them, and how do you change the method?
As mentioned above, everyone is busy, which is probably why you are being sent an email in this format. It is important that you let the sender know that it is unclear what it is they are trying to communicate with you. Send them a new email message with a new subject line requesting clarification. Include the points that you see in the email and ask for further explanation. Also request a response and provide a timeline so the information does not get lost in the shuffle.
Create a policy for timely response to emails.
If your office does not already have a policy in place it is important set up a personal policy of returning emails in a timely manner. I return email messages within 24 hours during the work week. If I do not have the answer to a question, I will send a courtesy email explaining that I am working on it, and will provide an update as soon as possible. This helps to keep people informed of what is happening as you plan your upcoming event.
Clear, concise and timely communication will help to keep everyone in the loop of outstanding, and completed tasks, as well as keep the morale of the team up while planning your event.