Canadian Lawyer InHouse

December/January 2021

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 39 including your email platform, and allows you to insert commonly used text with just a keyboard shortcut. No longer will you waste your precious time typing out a response — you can reply automatically within seconds. Craft more effective email messages Dramatically reduce the volume of emails you receive by crafting more effective messages that are understood upon opening and do not require multiple back-and-forth emails asking clarifying questions. To craft more effective emails, answer four key questions in every single email you send: who, why, what and how. WHO? This breaks down into two sub- questions: Who needs to respond to take action on or make a decision about this information? Put their name(s) on the "to" line. Who needs to know this information? Put their name(s) on the "cc" line. WHY? Look back at the names on the "to" and "cc" lines. For each name, ask yourself: Why is this person involved in the project? Why am I emailing them? Why do they need to know? Why does this information matter to them? Why does it matter to the broader organiza- tion? Then think about what you know about those individuals — their interests, needs, backgrounds and communication styles. Make sure the tone, style and content of your email matches up — just as you would choose appropriate words, tone and body language if you were sitting across a table from them and discussing the topic in person. WHAT? Ask yourself a series of "what" questions to help shape the content of your email. What is the purpose of the email? What are the main points to be communicated in this email? What are the key facts? What refer- ences or research data need to be included? What must everyone know? Do not hit the send button until you have included every piece of detail required. HOW? Ask yourself how you want recipients to respond. Describe this explicitly in your email. If there's a deadline, say so. If you want an email response, say that. If you need suggested dates for a meeting, names of possible project participants, a list of questions or key ideas to be considered or any other specific input, describe it. Never assume that people will understand what you want — tell them as straightforwardly as possible. Use the subject line to improve email response time Please, never let yourself hit the send button while the subject line of your email reads "RE:RE" or "FWD:FWD" or some cryptic phrase that relates to a prior message. Why? Because when you send an email like this, you're sending a message into the world with an unclear purpose. Do not be part of creating the email pigsty we have come to expect and accept. The subject line of your email message is To craft more effective emails, answer four key questions in every single email you send: who, why, what and how Carson Tate serves as a consultant and coach to executives at Fortune 500 companies, including AbbVie, Deloitte, EY, FedEx and Wells Fargo. The author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, her views have been included in several publications, including Fast Company, Forbes, the Harvard Business Review blog, The New York Times and more. For more information, visit workingsimply.com. your topic sentence. It clearly states the topic of the email. A clear subject line is essential if you want to communicate effectively and improve both the quality and response time on the email messages you send. Make sure the subject lines on your email messages reflect the current topic, purpose or desired outcome. When you respond to an email you've received, change the subject line to make it current and clear. Consider using some of the following standard email subject lines: Action required — DATE FYI — third paragraph client X mention Update: TOPIC Reply by — DATE NRN — No response needed EOM — End of message The last subject line above, EOM, is an especially powerful one. Here's how it works: When you have a short, simple message to convey, type the entire email in the subject line of the email and put EOM at the end. (For example, "Tuesday marketing meeting moved to 2 p.m. EOM.") Now your recipient doesn't have to open the email message, saving them precious minutes. It's time to take back control and clean up the pigsty that's disguising itself as your inbox.

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