One of the biggest banes of my life is email
Take a day off and the inbox has 100+ new emails in. Take a week off and you open your email application with dread.
Email in this day and age is starting to feel like an obsolete business tool. I seem to spend most of my time cleaning out spam that made it through the spam filters, or tracking down important emails that ares stuck in the spam filter
Some of the important or potentially important/interesting ones take so long to get to the point they may get inadvertently deleted as spam or rubbish.
So saw this article about email etiquette and how the American Military use it and thought what a good idea
Keep it to the point, functional, with an uppercase statement at the beginning of the subject line telling you what the purpose is.
- ACTION – Compulsory for the recipient to take some action
- SIGN – Requires the signature of the recipient
- INFO – For informational purposes only, and there is no response or action required
- DECISION – Requires a decision by the recipient
Then for the main email text, keep it short and sweet.
Military personnel know that short emails are more effective than long ones, so they try to fit all content in one pane, so the recipient doesn’t have to scroll. They also eschew the passive voice because it tends to make sentences longer, or as the Air Force manual puts it, “Besides lengthening and twisting sentences, passive verbs often muddy them.”
You can reads the article in full here: How to Write Email with Military Precision
Maybe we need to tweak some of the subject options. Imagine how much easier going through your inbox would be;
- SPAM - just delete me, you haven't won the lottery and don't need any SEO services.
- SALES - just delete me, you don't want whatever it is I'm flogging.
- ENQUIRY - could be interesting, worth a read, maybe a bit of business?
- WIFE - don't delete, treat as urgent and action straight away
Reckon this could catch on? Or can we just scrap email completely and use that funny thing you have to talk into for important communication?