Desk of Brad

Email Etiquette

While I was at Microsoft, I participated on a committee chaired by Kevin Johnson (who at the time was leading Worldwide Sales, Marketing, and Services). As most of you know, Kevin Johnson is now the CEO of Starbucks. Our committee worked for several months to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Microsoft’s account teams. The principal goal was to return time back to the field sales force so that we could spend more time with our customers and partners.

At the time, on average, only 1/3 of the field’s time was being spent with customers and partners – the remainder was internally focused. Over the course of the project, we examined communication habits, meeting structure, the resource request process, and the systems and tools that supported the account teams. We came out with a broad list of recommendations to produce an end-to-end approach to increasing the time available to spend with customers and partners.

We need to continually improve our communication habits – This week I wanted to share the recommendations we made for improving email efficiency. Next week I’ll share the recommendations for meeting structure and etiquette.

Guidelines for E-mail at Tahzoo:
• Keep the message simple, clear, and concise.
• When sending an e-mail, only include those involved in the discussion or decision and include them on the “To” line (not the “Cc” line).
• Use the “To” line if you are assigning an action to the recipient.
• Use the “Cc” line if no action is required from the recipient (equivalent to the “Subject” line designation “FYI-Reference”).
• Use the appropriate e-mail subject line designation when sending an e-mail to increase recipient efficiency in processing e-mail, set expectations, and establish consistency across e-mail messages.
• Ensure that action items are clearly identified by using bold or colored type.
• When replying to e-mail, only reply to those involved in the discussion or decision.
• Limit the use of “Reply to All” to those individuals who need to act upon, implement, or be informed about the discussion or decision.
• When forwarding e-mail, revise the “Subject” line by using appropriate subject line designations.
• When forwarding a long thread, use the appropriate subject line designation and include an executive summary.

Per my DOB from last week, just a quick update… No follow up from Uber. Not that I expected one, but thought I’d just mention it.

Let’s go be great,