I have posted before on how to get a quicker response from your email, but too many times the emails that you may receive are the length of a novel, that you get so bogged down reading and responding to them. Email is an essential means for you to communicate with your staff and ministry leaders, therefore here are some tips in order to cut through those long and laborious emails.
Step 1: Determine who it’s from
The amount of attention you need to pay an email will depend mainly on who it’s from. A potential client detailing the kind of work they require will need a lot of attention. A long request for advice from someone you’ve never heard of (usually the most common kind) can be processed quickly and painlessly with the following steps.
Step 2: Scan until you can answer one question
“What is this email about?”
Most long emails are questions delivered in an extremely round-about way. They can often be broken down into two segments: 1) key questions and 2) unnecessary detail. If your email appears to fit this bill, you can move to Step 3.
Other types of long email include thanks/positive feedback, constructive criticism (or its evil twin, long angry rants).
Scan the email until you can sum up its purpose in a sentence — for example, “They’re telling me they like my portfolio and found it inspiring,” or “They hate my guts because of that post I wrote.” Then respond to the sentence you’ve defined, rather than the email as a whole.
Step 3: Look for questions
Scan a long email looking for question marks. These are specific points which require action from you. In most cases, you can ignore unnecessary detail and focus on questions. But before you focus only on the words you need, you’ll need to implement the last step.
Step 4: Find keywords
This will allow you to zero in on the issue that you need to address.