Last week, I was in the zone.
I was knocking out emails left and right and relishing the fact that my number of unread emails was rapidly dropping. I love it when that happens! In fact, I might love it too much.
Then, I stumbled upon an email from a former client inviting me to be interviewed on her radio show. So, I quickly I responded saying, “I don’t have time for this but if you’d like to check back in a few months, that would be great.”
I don’t even know if I signed it. #emailfail
Fast forward to later that night at 2:30 AM when, BOOM, my eyes flew open and I realized…
I’M AN EMAIL A$$HOLE.
I was so laser-focused on getting stuff done and in love with the efficiency of technology that I totally forgot about the human experience.
So the next day, the first thing I did was write my former client and asked for a do-over. Then, before I wrote a single word, I thought up a super easy email checklist I can rely on when I’m in the email rabbit hole.
That way, I won’t lose sight of the actual humans on the receiving end of every email I send.
So, here goes:
Step one: Personal acknowledgment.
The purpose of the personal acknowledgment is to take a brief moment to make a connection without being verbose. It’s more than a simple “Hi Jennifer” but not by much. Instead, you might write, “Hi Jennifer, thanks for the invitation.” Or “Hi Jennifer, Happy Valentines Day.”
Step two: Specifically address the issue at hand.
In this circumstance, the issue at hand was declining an invitation to be interviewed.
“Thank you for the invitation. Right now I’m only working part-time so I can spend as much time as possible with my daughter, so I’m currently taking a hiatus from all interviews.”
Step three: Present an opportunity for a follow-up or an alternative action.
Even though this invite was not a fit for me, I had an awesome client who would be perfect for Jennifer’s radio show. So, my alternative action sounded like this:
“Though it doesn’t fit into my schedule, I have a client who would be the perfect guest for your show and I’d love to introduce the two of you.”
Presenting a clear course of action is respectful but it also brings this conversation to completion, taking it off your to-do list and putting it on your to-DONE list.
And you know what? It took me 45 seconds instead of 20 seconds to craft this helpful, swift response. Just 30 seconds more than my original email! Had I followed this formula the first time I would have maintained efficiency without dealing with email guilt later that night.