Google chief lays out rules for successful emailing

Respond quickly and be concise, says Schmidt

Email users should strive to respond quicker to emails and cut out unnecessary words, according to Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt, alongside Google's senior vice president of products Jonathan Rosenberg, laid out the ground rules for emailing in a new book, How Google Works.

The pair said being responsive sets up a "positive communications feedback loop" whereby your team and colleagues will be more likely to include you in important discussions and decisions. 

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"Being responsive to everyone reinforces the flat, meritocratic culture you are trying to establish," said Schmidt and Rosenberg.

The pair, writing in Time magazine, also advised readers to eliminate any words that aren't necessary.

Email users were also urged to clean out their inboxes and handle messages in a last in, first out order as older stuff will get taken care of by someone else.

People should also consider themselves as "routers" of information. When someone is emailed useful information, they should consider who else would find it useful. 

"At the end of the day, make a mental pass through the mail you received and ask yourself, What should I have forwarded but didn't?'" the pair said.

Schmidt and Rosenberg warned against using blind carbon copy (BCC) in emails as well as using the caps lock. 

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They also said that email users should make it easy to follow up on requests by copying themselves in an email and marking it "follow up". A similar technique could also be used to help email users search for information by forwarding on emails to themselves and adding keywords they could later remember.

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"This isn't just handy for emails, but important documents too. Jonathan scans his family's passports, licenses, and health insurance cards and emails them to himself along with descriptive keywords," said Schmidt. "Should any of those things go missing during a trip, the copies are easy to retrieve from any browsers."

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