5 Ways to Improve your Contract Management Emails
How many emails do you receive per day?
If it’s too many, your team members may become overwhelmed.
The magic number for most employees is 50 emails per day. Anything more than that and your contract management processes could be jeopardized.
To address this issues here are 5 ways to improve your contract management emails.
1. Walk over or pick up the phone
The fastest way to bring down the number of emails among contract management teams is to walk over to your coworker’s office and have a quick meeting. Instead of wasting time sending emails going back and forth about agreeing on a meeting time, take five minutes and figure it out face to face. For teams spread across long distances, the same can be achieved over a quick phone call. While keeping documentation from processes is important, it shouldn’t be the case for small issues.
2. Craft efficient email subject lines
The best emails are those that can be read without even being opened. Use these five tips for writing productive email subject lines:
- Be specific: instead of “Review” write “Review meeting 5/7 @ 2pm, room 212”
- Write action items: instead of “Damian” write “Call Damian Davila at 5551231234 today”
- Use email subject abbreviations: one of the most powerful email subject abbreviations is EOM, which stands for “end of message” and establishes that this topic is closed and needs no further reply; just make sure to explain what EOM means to your coworkers before you start using it
- Standardize email subject lines for recurring emails: this is particularly important when using automated emails generated by a contract management system. Remember that while the US uses MM-DD-YYYY, most Western countries use DD-MM-YYYY, and several Asian countries opt for YYYY-MM-DD.
3. Insist on extreme brevity
Thomas Jefferson said it best, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do”.
Here are some specific tips:
- Avoid jargon and pompous language; it wont impress anybody. For example, a waste of time and money is better than a pointless expenditure of temporal and financial resources.
- Dont be monotonous; vary sentence length and style.
- Use transitions to connect sentences and make your email easy to follow.
- Avoid clichés: “A ballpark estimate of the number of containers in the dock would be 120,000” versus “about 120,000 containers were in the dock”.
4. Keep one topic per email
Joseph McCormack, author of Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less, warns that “more than 43% of professionals abandon complicated emails in the first 30 seconds”. Present this fact to your team, and they will be more likely to agree to keep one topic per email.
Not only does this simplify communication, but also it makes documentation more efficient.
5. End email chains quickly
Emails chains are a mess. Starting with the terrible “re:re:re:re:re:re” subject lines that provide no useful information, and ending with the inappropriate use of “reply all” that brings more, and often unnecessary, people “into the loop”. A good rule of thumb is that if an email chain goes beyond five emails, it’s time to pick up the phone and schedule a meeting to iron out details.
Additionally, you should discourage additional emails that add no value, such as “thank you” and “you’re welcome”, by adding EOM to the subject line.
Improve the productivity of your contract management processes by keeping your email count below 50 using these five techniques: face-to-face communication/picking up the phone, crafting efficient email subject lines, insisting on extreme brevity, keeping one topic per email, and ending email chains quickly.