We all have an opinion about emails I suppose. We seem to either love or hate emails.
Have you ever received an email when the sender was telling you how much they don’t like emails?
I have received countless emails opening with the cliche “I hate emails” for this or that reason.
Let me tell you why I prefer email, and online chat to a phone call and a personal meeting in most situations.
I am not saying there is no space for a phone call or for meetings, however in this technology age, phone calls
and meetings can make a serious dint on your productivity in my view.
My way of working and getting things done is built on emails and chat (Skype, Google, Campfire) and minimal
phone calls and meetings.
Simply because I can get much more done this way.
I love emails
Why this post is titled “I hate email” you may wonder.
I picked this up from John Frusciante, the legendary song writer and guitarist.
On his album titled Shadows Collide With People, there is a song named ‘Regret’ which is about John regretting his past.
In an interview he was asked why he regrets his past. He said he hadn’t regretted it, but saying he does is a way of expressing that fact.
So I love emails and the title is to express that … if that makes sense at all.
A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting with a couple of guys and they were talking down email and text messaging and online chat and saying how come people are chatting and texting instead of calling and how crazy the world is, as a result of that.
One of them insisted he hates texting and would never send a text message, as he can just pick up the phone and talk for 5 minutes and it’s done.
Well, they certainly have a point and this would have been a very productive, “to the point – get it done” approach a few years ago. However, this is not the most productive way to manage simple ‘asking a question’ type of conversations, and here is why. Thanks to chat and text messages, you don’t have to call and that means that you can be working on more projects at the same time and chat with more people simultaneously.
My discovery of how phone can seriously affect productivity
I did not mind talking on the phone until I learned a lesson for how effective customer service communicates with clients. The learning came when we introduced live chat service on our eCommerce stores a few years ago.
Then, I realised that our Customer Service Team members could obviously service only one customer at the time on the phone, while about 5 comfortably on the live chat and the level of service is pretty much the same.
So you can manage to effectively communicate with 5 people on Skype at the same time and when you are rolling projects and managing your managers and contractors you are likely to be chatting most of the day in and out.
I have to mention that our Customer Service Team members assigned to chat don’t take calls. While the team members are on the phone, cannot chat. The phone conversation obviously takes all of anyone’s attention.
On the top of this fact, most of the guys I (and other global entrepreneurs) chat with people all across the globe often in several countries and continents.
Chat, and emails are perfect way to communicate. Being a technology driven company, we are constantly developing different projects and screen sharing is often necessary in order to effectively communicate. Would not be able to do that while on the phone talking.
We often talk on Skype not only chat, sometimes we talk and share screens or hangout on Google +. I am not against voice communication, just reconsidering the productivity of the phone as a device for communication for entrepreneurs to calling someone to ask them a quick question.
Often the same people who tell you much they hate email, open up their Outlook and complain about their emails once again. Using Outlook I would not like emails either :p
Gmail is my choice and make sure you use their cool features, such as tagging, filtering and set up your tabs to bring the most out of Gmail. You can use browser add ons, such as boomerang to manage your emails in pretty awesome ways. http://www.boomeranggmail.com/
Boomerang recently introduced a ‘Read Receipts’ feature, so if that was the feature that you loved in Outlook, now you can have that on Gmail as well.
The other super cool Gmail browser add on that I use is http://rapportive.com/.
This add on was recently purchased by LinkedIn and it is real cool.
It loads up all the social media profiles of the sender of the email you are reading.
You can easily look into who is contacting you and that is super useful when you’re not quite sure about who the sender exactly is.
Gmail has an endless list of cool features and being able to filter messages is one of my favourite ones.
You can set up filters for certain senders, subject lines and so on. These filters can put emails into folders for you and you can even make them skipping your inbox. So they don’t clog your inbox, you can set a reminder to get to them every now and then for example.
Sign up for a monthly account activity report with Google (click here to do that) to have a sense for how you’re going with emails, how many you’re sending and receiving. It is a monitoring tool that I use to keep an eye on my email loads and ensure I manage them well.
The other big advantage of emails for global entrepreneurs is that it enables us to work our own terms.
If we are up until 3am excited (or sometimes pressured) working on a project, we can work that time getting back to emails.
Email still works, even if you really don’t like typing.
You still could send ‘voice emails’ by using Quick Time Player on your Mac or a voice recording app on your phone and record your message and attach it to an email.
I often respond this way to team members when I don’t feel like tying
And don’t forget that, you can always get help with managing your email. A VA can easily help in so that you can step away from them when you need to.
You can set up autoresponders for times when you are away or your VA can respond to any emails that are not urgent enough to require your attention while you’re taking time off.
Chat can help to manage many projects at the same time
Skype is another application that is good to be familiar with, and these days most people are.
It is a Luxembourg based company with something like 700 million global users. eBay bought Skype for $2.6 billion in 2006, before selling 70% of it in 2009 for $2 billion. Then in May 2011, Microsoft paid $8.5 billion for it.
Since the acquisition, they confirmed that it would replace Windows Live Messenger.
It has cool features that enable users to send and receive files, share computer screens while talking on Skype, make video calls and their mobile apps are getting better and better, so you can Skype on your iPhone if you are busy managing projects and working with multiple team members or managers.
You don’t always want to be on Skype obviously, however in those busy times, it helps with great connectivity and productivity.
I believe that I get a lot more into a day on emails and chat then I ever could on the phone.
However, sometimes there is a place for a call and I am often on the phone, however nearly all of those are scheduled and I am not in chats at those times.
The time when random calls do come in, I am in multiple chats working on projects and chatting with team members and contractors, project managers and so on. Taking a call would often distract 3 – 5 ongoing conversations.
Regardless if you are a phone person or not, I hope you’ve been able to get some ideas from the above