25 March 2008

Email Guerrilla Techniques 2 (Only Apply If Really, Really Desperate)

Does email overload sound familiar? You're looking at your inbox and don't know where to start? Desperate times call for... Guerrilla Techniques!

But first, what qualifies as being really, really desperate?
Here's an example:
You're staring at your computer, can't remember what you were about to do, it's past midnight, you're still at the office, you realize you're completely screwed and you definitely feel like throwing your chair through the (closed) window.

Email Guerrilla Technique #2
If you receive emails saying "please take care" and realize that it's the result of a 15 round email tennis match where half a dozen people used their creativity to hide information here and there, or it's a single message that is just plain cryptic, then it's time for Email Guerrilla Technique #2.
  • don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out what you're supposed to do (and risk wasting your time delivering the wrong thing).
  • Within seconds of reading the message, fire back a reply saying "I'm not sure I understand your request. Please specify how I can help you."
  • Don't wait, do it right away.
  • Use your time for truly urgent and important things while you wait for a reply (or have a coffee with the cute girl from marketing).
  • Celebrate as soon as you realize that a lot of your requests for clarification never get answered (less work for you!)
To be continued.


Anonymous said...

This is a great tactic! I've been employing it for years. Except I'm more likely to pick up the phone and leave a voicemail message. I figure if they couldn't explain it in writing the first time...

Goes with the idea of not working harder than they are/caring more than they do. I mean am I mining for gold dust here? No. So just hand me the nugget.

Of course, I'm talking about clients I want to help, and you're probably talking about those impossibly murky and poorly thought out requests for this and that. Which makes your approach all the more brilliant. I wish more of my clients would use it.

Happy Employee said...

It's exactly as you say. If you need to get a feedback from paying customers, then picking up the phone is probably better.

But if you're just swamped with requests and know that you will never be able to do everything, let them help you decide what you will really do.