— Google

I asked Gmail experts to rewrite my emails

The email:

Date: August 26, 2022, 6:46 PM1
Subject: Happy Friday2

Hi everyone! Wanted to recap everything we went over in the meeting earlier this week. The whole team is going to divide and conquer, so why don’t you let me know3 what piece you’d like to work on? Or… thoughts on how best to go about that?3 Also, we still need to figure out if we want to bring in other teams to help out with this or if we think it would be best to do our part first and then look for outside help… thoughts?3 OK I think that’s it, have a great weekend! And if you could get back to me on this asap4 that would be great because then I can solidify the recap notes and send them along.


The feedback:

Mistake #1: I sent an email — with action items — at the end of the day on a Friday!
The solution:
Use Gmail’s schedule send feature. “Sending people an email on a Friday afternoon makes it really difficult to get feedback,” says Maalika Manoharan, a Gmail product manager. “Schedule it for Monday morning,” she says, when people are more focused on work and better able to respond. “Or better yet, Tuesday morning — people can be slammed trying to catch up from the weekend on Monday, and it could get lost.”

Mistake #2: The subject line doesn’t indicate what the email is about.
The solution:
I should have started with a much more specific subject line, says Sergio Civetta, who works in Strategy and Operations and has helped with email courses for Googlers. People are busy, and getting to the point helps them manage their inboxes and figure out what needs their attention.

Mistake #3: For such a short note, I asked for fairly broad feedback.
The solution:
“If you want email replies on specific topics, break them out clearly and be as direct as possible,” Sergio says. He notes that depending on who I’m sending this out to, I should use my own judgment to determine if this is going to lead to a messy string of replies. If so, it might be better to jump into a meeting or email people separately — or ask for feedback in a central location, like a Google Sheet or a Doc.

Mistake #4: I wasn’t clear about when I needed their responses.
The solution:
Be clear and specific if you need a response. “In this case, I’d suggest telling them multiple times they have action items, and anchoring a specific date for responses before closing your email,” Sergio says.

The revise:

Date: August 29, 2022, 9:30 AM1
Subject: [Response requested] Project kick-off meeting action items2

Hi everyone!

Thanks all for attending our kick-off on Friday. There are a few items still in need of your input3:

Workstream ownership3
We agreed to divide and conquer. I’ve attached a Google Sheet that lists the various project workstreams; please indicate in the Sheet3 which ones you’d like to own.

Involvement of other teams3
We still need to figure out if we want to involve other teams right now or if we’re better off getting this started on our own and making a call later. Please reply to this thread3 with your thoughts on that question.

I’d appreciate your answers by Tuesday4 so we can finalize recap notes and next steps.

Thank you!


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