When Email Expectations Become What’s Expected

When Email Expectations Become What's ExpectedEarlier this week we shared an article from Inc.com called “Should You Reply to That Email?”, a brief article about how to read an email for clues on whether a response is needed, and if so, when and what kind of response you’d like to send.

It was good advice, and a useful article.

I can’t wait for it to be obsolete.

“Look for clues.”

The author, Stacey Gawronski, correctly identifies the trickiness of figuring out a sender’s expectations: her first tip is “Look for Clues”, because too often when dealing with the status quo, a recipient has to become a junior detective just to figure out what the sender wants…and when the sender wants it. Do you need an immediate reply? Should I read this by tomorrow? Are you asking me to take a specific action by a specific date next week? If only there were some way to put this information somewhere clear and easy to see. At the top of the email, say. Maybe in color, even.

Oh, wait:

email expectations timyo header reply by tomorrow

We totally can do that, because Timyo totally did!*

“Sniff out a question.”

Gawronski’s second tip, “Sniff Out a Question”, also suggests the maddening vagueness found too frequently in emails. While it is good advice to look for a question that the person expects you to answer, it is good advice that should be unnecessary. When you use Timyo on your team, you and your coworkers know exactly what you expect from each other, because you put it—in clear, polite language—right at the top of the email. No detective skills or mind-reading necessary. To find out what is expected from a team member who sends a Timyo email, you basically need two things:

1) Access to the Internet.

2) Literacy.

“Speak up.”

Gawronski’s third and final tip “Speak Up—If You Wish to Be Heard” is the one tip that I don’t hope becomes obsolete when your team uses Timyo. From the article:

If you have nothing new to add to the conversation or if you can cleanly take the commentary and proceed with your job, then you can feel at ease about not responding.

But if, on the other hand, you feel compelled to express yourself–for the sake of clarifying yourself or elaborating on a decision you made or providing fresh insight–then of course you should hit the reply button.”

This kind of careful consideration—of your team members’ time and of your role in your company or a specific project or thread—is something we hope becomes even more common with Timyo, not less:

email expectations timyo header read by today

By freeing up productivity for the entire team and giving people clear expectations easily, Timyo allows you to take the time to really read and invest in the emails that matter, when they matter, and then give a considered response. Keeping in mind, as Gawronski does here, that sometimes the best response—and the most considerate one—is no response at all.

*Here’s what it looks like for a recipient (even if he isn’t using Timyo).

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