Be a forward thinker, not an email forwarder

June 3, 2011

By Dan Schlacter

I hear this question regularly: “Did you get that email I forwarded you?

Often times, I reply, “Yes,” when I am thinking, “Yes, but I stopped reading it when I realized you wanted me to comb through an entire email chain for that one little nugget of information I asked you to confirm.”

As we accumulate mailboxes personally and on behalf of clients through a growing number of platforms – Outlook, Facebook walls and direct messages, Twitter feeds, YouTube comments and LinkedIn notifications – we need to remember that everyone else is too. So, we need to think strategically before we share information with each other.

At this agency, we apply the campaign approach to client work – continuously evaluating our audience and message to be sure that the right information is being communicated to the right group via the most appropriate media to achieve the desired reaction.

We would never say to a client, “Why don’t we just hit ‘em with every single thing we know about this issue – all at once – and let them sort it out.” So why do we sometimes do just that to our co-workers and client contacts by indiscriminately forwarding important details embedded in large chunks of irrelevant content?

Probably because we are busy and it is easier to click “Forward,” type “FYI …” and then press “Send.”

So, next time you come into some information that you need to pass along to a colleague or contact, think about what you want them to do with it, and then figure out the best way to tell them about it.

Maybe it’s an email, or a phone call, or a quick meeting … or a mildly ranting and potentially passive-aggressive blog post you hope they’ll see.

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