- Use the subject header by pre-fixing with “Info,” “Action” and, rarely, “Urgent Action” with the red exclamation mark. You’ll find your recipient will appreciate this.
- Use the person’s name at the start of the email and consider opening and closing with a connective phrase such as “I trust you’re well” or “I trust this is useful”.
- Be clear whose court the ball is now in by closing with a phrase such as, “I look forward to hearing from you.”
- Consider standing up when making a call, as you’ll find you communicate clearer and your call time will reduce.
- If you have to deal with someone who is verbose, summarize back what they’ve said and ask them if you’ve understood them. People who are wordy are often that way because they don’t feel understood.
- To avoid text tag and ambiguity, use the voice recorder functionality on your cell and then send the recording as a text message.
- If someone stops by your work area and asks: “Do you have a minute?” ask them if it really is a minute! If they need longer, schedule a mutually convenient time. Consider going to their work area to meet. Why? Well, it’s easier to walk away from someone when you’re done rather than push him or her out of your area.
- Consider standing up when someone interrupts you. Most people will perceive this as a sign of respect and you’ll find your conversation will be more concise.
- Consider using ear buds while working at your desk to avoid distractions and even eye contact with people who just want to stop by and “shoot the breeze.”
- Involve others whose work you depend upon to get their input on timelines and milestones as soon as possible: People tend to support what they help create.
- If you’re a morning person, attack work you may have a tendency to procrastinate on in the morning, and vice versa if you’re more of an afternoon person.
- Reward yourself for getting something done, such as “I’ll do X and then I’ll make a coffee,” etc.
- Be an influencer and respectfully challenge the status quo of meetings. Do we need to meet? Do we need this amount of time? Does everyone need to be here for the whole meeting? Can we meet standing up?
- Be an example to others by making sure you’ve done what you said you were going to do as a result of the last meeting.
- Be focused by having a timed agenda — even a timekeeper — and don’t allow the meeting to be sidetracked. Be on time.