Have you ever reported an emergency or an accident? Maybe a car crash, a gas leak or any other thing that required urgent attention? You surely did not reported it via e-mail right? You called 911.
Then, why is there people who insists on sending e-mails requiring an “urgent” attention?
An e-mail is not a tool to report urgencies; in fact it does a very poor job at it. E-mail however is an excellent tool to recap and document agreements and important messages, which is not the same as urgent.
Just how many times have you received an e-mail requiring an “urgent” response? Or how many times a member of your staff has told you they sent the “urgent” message via e-mail? Or even worse, how many times have you done so too?
If you require an immediate response, you should not send an e-mail, you should pick up the phone and call the other person. Or, if you work in the same office as the other party, you should get up and walk to their desks!
“Oh, but what about the people who have a blackberry or another smart phone?” Some of you maybe thinking. Well news flash! These useful and practical little gadgets are not a leash or a biper that magically get their owners to immediately and automatically answer your “urgent” message. These are rather tools that enables its owners to read and reply to their e-mails whenever and wherever it is more convenient for them.
Which actually should no be a problem, since in reality there can not exist “urgent” e-mails, since usually (and bare with me here, be honest and do an auto analysis) whenever we send an email requiring “urgent” attention, its because we just let time pass, transforming our requirement, more than in an urgent, into a delay we are trying to cover.
So next time you need to send an urgent email, before you click on send, stop, take a breath and ask yourself whether it is really urgent or not. If it is, save the draft, close it and do not send it until you have personally spoken about your requirement with the person responsible and only then, and just as a confirmation or recap of the agreement should you send it out.