Institute the No Thanks Necessary Email Protocol to reduce unnecessary Emails.
How many Emails do you receive where someone replies with only “OK” or “Thanks”?
Even if it is a few percent, it can add-up to hundreds or even thousands of Emails a year!
Here is the Solution:
Institute the “NTN” (for “No Thanks Necessary” ) or “NTR” (for “No Thanks Required”) protocol in your team/department/company.
At the end of your Email or Subject Line, insert “NTN” or "NTR" to tell people it is OK to NOT respond with "Thanks".
Some people have been known to even add this little message to the end of their their Email Signature Blocks.
It may take some time and a bit of prodding, but it can make a big difference.
For major offenders, send a nice Email explaining the concept behind "NTN".
You are not questioning their courteousness or their manners.
Rather, you are just trying to cut-down Emails!
I once had a member of a project team that sent out a “Thanks!” email in response to every single message that even slightly concerned them. It was a busy project, with dozens of team members and often hundreds of Emails a week.
This one person’s “Thanks!” Emails contributed to dozens of Emails I (as well as everyone else copied) was receiving a week. If you multiply it out, this one person was causing hundreds of unnecessary Emails!
I almost sent out a hasty (and probably ill-worded) Email imploring them to please STOP with all the Thanks!
But I luckily caught myself, took a breath, and decided to give them a quick phone call instead.
I knew this person could sometimes take things a bit personally, and I didn’t want the message to be taken as a criticism but rather as a productivity enhancement.
According to media richness theory, messages that are likely to be sensitive or emotionally charged are best done via either face-to-face or with phone calls as opposed to Emails.
This was certainly one of those situations!
They were very receptive, apologetic, and honestly a bit surprised about it.
In speaking with them, it seems that they were responding with “Thanks!” almost instinctively, and barely realized they were even doing it.
Within a few days, the flood of “Thanks!” Emails disappeared, along with a nice chunk of “noise” from my Inbox.
And I am sure that other people on the project team were also appreciative as well, since this person was copying multiple people on all of their “Thanks” responses.
To learn more about using Emails Subject Lines to streamline your Email processing, check out my post on Email Subject Line Hashtags to learn more about this approach.