Posts Tagged 'email'

BLUF! A Great Method to Get Your Message Across

Posted on March 30th, 2017 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

BLUF: Put the main takeaway – the bottom line – of your message at its very beginning.   BLUF? What on Earth is that? BLUF stands for “Bottom Line Up Front”. It is a term coined, apparently, in the US Army, and it denotes a model for effective message writing. The idea is to reverse the usual method, where you first present your case, your arguments and justifications, and then – at the end – draw the conclusions or decisions. Instead you put the conclusion, the main thing you need the reader to understand, at the very beginning of the.. Read more

What would Ada Lovelace think of Knowmail?

Posted on November 3rd, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions

This post was first published on the Knowmail blog. Cross-posted with permission.   The computer will never be creative or intelligent by itself; it can only do what we tell it to do. I like to call this statement “The Frankenstein clause”: it plays down the primal fear we humans have of our machines getting better than us, then taking over the world. Basically it says, “Move along, folks… Nothing to worry about, we’re the real brains here… These dumb computers will always obey us…” This statement was made by many during the 20th century, but the first to articulate.. Read more

How to Avoid Forwarding Gaffes With Email

Posted on May 21st, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

Gaffes in communication are common in all media, and email is no exception. It does, however, enable special opportunities to be very sorry for what you said… The problem with Forward The main reason is that an email, once sent, is no longer yours . You must assume – and to your detriment often forget to assume – that it will get forwarded and re-forwarded. Everything you said to your intended recipient will likely as not be placed before numerous other people. It is astounding how thoughtlessly a recipient can set loose a message meant for their eyes only! The.. Read more

Call to Action: We Need a Benchmark of Email Classifier Performance!

Posted on December 10th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

A vibrant menagerie of email classifiers If you look through  my Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions you will see an entire chapter dedicated to automation of incoming email classification – that is, software solutions that classify incoming messages by a variety of attributes to achieve two main goals: prioritize messages that are important to the recipient over those who are not, and aggregate messages into groups of a common nature. These solutions form a collection which is a wonder to behold. They define the outcome of message classification from a great many angles, including: Prioritizing messages by the assessed.. Read more

Should IT Customize Outlook to Reduce Information Overload?

Posted on October 24th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

I was giving a workshop on Information Overload at a midsized hi-tech company where it was agreed to use a standard format for meeting invitations: in addition to the subject, time and place required by Outlook, each such invitation would contain an agenda with a timetable, a list of desired outcomes, and “homework” to be prepared ahead of the meeting. That’s an excellent idea, which I urge you to consider applying in your own group. But then one attendee asked: can we build this into the Outlook platform, so these added fields would be required and enforced automatically? And that.. Read more

Is Information Overload a Symptom of Incorrect Staffing?

Posted on August 21st, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

Of the 164 solutions to information overload included in my Definitive Guide, the last one is probably the least likely to be implemented – and that’s truly a shame. The problem we seldom mention I was discussing Information Overload a while ago with a thoughtful executive at a Fortune 500. The guy agreed with me that things were out of control, but he wasn’t impressed with the fact that he was receiving some 250 work-related email messages a day, most of which were pretty much useless. He said to me, “The problem is not the 200-odd useless emails; those I.. Read more

Oh, the Horror: What if You Miss an Important Message?!

Posted on June 6th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Impact and Symptoms

In a world where knowledge workers may receive 300 emails a day, and have thousands of unread messages in their inbox, one of the best pieces of advice I can give them in my workshops may be Be quick with that Delete button! Unfortunately, people are so loath to heed this advice, that I often don’t even try. What’s keeping them from deleting with a vengeance it the mortifying fear that they will accidentally delete an important message. Oh, the horror!… The implicit assumption There may be two underlying assumptions at play here: one assumes deleting the message harms its.. Read more

Urgency and Email

Posted on May 21st, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

It’s less than three weeks to Overloaded 2014, IORG’s June 7 conference in San Francsico. I’m going – are you? Have you registered yet? I was discussing email overload solutions with a team of managers and we were considering how to differentiate urgent messages, when one guy asked: What is an urgent message? And who decides it’s urgent, anyway? Now, that is a deceptively simple question, one well worthy of some thought. What do we mean by Urgent? Although people seem to have a gut feeling of what “Urgent” means, once you open it for discussion you get different viewpoints… Read more

Solving Information Overload: a Hard Look at TO, CC and BCC

Posted on March 12th, 2014 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

Some of the best solutions to information overload are simple and free Now that I’ve finally published The Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions (whew!…), I can look at all the available solutions in one place; and one clear pattern I see is that some of the most effective solutions out there are so simple (and cost nothing) that you’d think everyone would adopt them. Which, sadly, is not what I see when I work to help my customers. Among these solutions is the concept of properly applying the distinction, provided by all email programs, between TO, CC and BCC.. Read more

A Disclaimer, Once And For All!

Posted on December 17th, 2013 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

An uncalled for dissonance As you know I lecture often on Information Overload in organizations, and I describe in these lectures the manifold damages of email overload in a workplace setting, followed by the available remedies. To my surprise, I sometimes encounter an indignant response: people declare that email is a vital tool, and I’m wrong to declare war on it! This always catches me by surprise, because my battle is with the abuse and misuse of email, not with the tool itself; and I’ve certainly never called for abandoning email – I benefit from its use as much as.. Read more