What does it mean to email like a boss? It’s all about being succinct in your emails so you don’t waste time. Short, sweet enough, and to the point. Basically, it’s about cutting out the fluff.
While looking for tips on how to best manage email, I came across Buzzfeed reporter Katie’s article on her experiment to email like a CEO and was intrigued.
Read to the end to see what emailing like a boss looks like.
I decided to try Katie’s experiment myself and to my surprise, it’s working! I used to take three hours to respond to emails. With my newfound, boss-like approach, I’m cutting out the fluff and making my emails more succinct and to the point. No muss, no fluff. Since I started the experiment, my email time is down to 30 minutes and both my productivity and focus have gone way up. The biggest surprise? No one is offended by the change in email tone.
Emailing like a boss has unburdened me.
So how did I filter out the fluff? Here are the three things I kept in mind every time I sent a boss-like email.
1. Respect Your Time and Others
Nobody likes getting buried in emails all day. Keep in mind to keep it short for your sake and your recipient’s. Long, drawn out emails take longer to read, longer to digest, longer to respond to, and frankly, more annoying to get through. I kept reminding myself that my recipient was probably only concerned with what was expected of them when reading my email. The key is to focus on the points you are trying to make and get right to it. It will be much appreciated.
A tip from DIEMlife’s Timothy Midgley: “Use numbered lists in lengthy emails. This makes it quicker and easier for others to respond to.”
2. Cut Out the Niceties
Don’t worry about being nice and all the niceties that go with it. What’s a nicety? It’s a minor aspect of polite social behavior; a detail of etiquette. It’s the small talk or the chit-chat that is better left for in-person occasions. I found that even the usual greetings like “Hope you’re well” weren’t necessary for the purpose of my work emails. Wrapping key points with a bunch of niceties is like excessive packaging around a present. It’s usually a waste and the recipient eventually gets bored or fed up trying to get to whatever it is you’re giving them.
3. Express Confidence
Don’t second guess yourself. When your boss sends you a really short email that gets right to the point, that is a display of his confidence and authority. Fluff usually comes from trying to cover our butts or defend ourselves from criticism. Instead, project power in your emails by omitting the word “I”. James Pennebaker is a professor at UT-Austin who studies pronouns and how it affects power dynamics between people. He says the person with the higher status uses the relative word “I” less. It’s a word used by people who are self-conscious about how they’re coming across to others. Changing who you are and your writing style is not an overnight process but now that you’re aware of it, take a look at how often you use the word “I” in your emails.
Whether you’re a CEO or an employee, I encourage you to try this. Your time saved will increase exponentially and with it, stress. I’ve been at it a week and just like Katie, I’m loving the results so much that I’m going to continue to fine-tune my email boss-tone.
Want to see the wrong and right way to email like a boss? Here’s a great example from Andrew Torba (CEO of www. Gab.ai).
The wrong way to email (with the recipient’s inner dialogue):
“Hey Andrew I just wanted to email you and tell you about an interesting opportunity. (FLUFF!: Don’t tell me what you are going to tell me, just tell me. Don’t say “hey” this isn’t AOL Instant Messenger.)
It’s great to meet you, my name is John Smith from Abc Inc. (Have we met?) I spent a lot of time following your work and I really think that we can do some great business together. (FLUFF!: No one likes a brown noser, you’re wasting my time here I’m 5 seconds into this email and now I’m deleting it.) Our company is from New York and we are funded by x,y,z. (FLUFF!, sorry doesn’t matter: what do you want with my time?) We are working to do X. (Finally.) We do it better than Facebook because 1,2,3. (FLUFF!: I’ll be the judge of that.) I know a lot of people say X, but on the contrary, we believe Y. (FLUFF!: how can you help me or what can I do for you?) I’d love to set up a call with you. (Probably not happening.)
Here’s the boss way:
I’d like to help you solve problem X. I do Y and Z suggested that we connect. Are you free to chat this week?”
What do you think? Do you think you could get comfortable writing emails like this?