Stick to the 3-B Plan when Emailing Busy People

Gregory Ciotti writes this:

If you want to get in touch with influential people (aka: BUSY people), you need to know how to contact them. Despite the buzz around social media, far more people use email to communicate than any other online medium, and business today still gets done over email, not through tweets. Sparring Mind’s Gregory Ciotti explains how to make things happen over email with the 3-B Plan.

Why it’s Important to Know

Knowing how to write outreach emails might seem like a no-brainer or maybe even an unnecessary skill to have, but I can assure you the opposite, on both accounts. If you’re serious about networking and building your platform/personal brand, you MUST know how to email important people. Important people are busy people. You can’t rely on random encounters to get in touch with people who can help you flourish; while it may happen once in a while, the rest of the time it’s up to you.

Due to the fact that tweeting is so impersonal and a cold phone call is so annoying, email is the ideal platform for reaching out. For busy people, even their inbox is something that is viewed as a “task,” meaning they want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Understanding how to properly email people is a skill that sets you apart from others (trust me, I’ve received some truly awful emails) and is essential for making things happen with influencers.

The 3-B Plan

When deciding whether to read or delete an email, our brains go through this common evaluation process:

1. Who is emailing me (and is this spam)?
2. What do they want?
3. How long will this take?

Getting a “pass” on all 3 of these can be tougher than it looks, especially for busy people. Here’s my 3-step technique to avoid the trash bin.

I call it the 3-B plan. I always double-check my emails to make sure they follow the guidelines below, and I’ve been able to get some fantastic response rates.


If there is one thing that busy people value above all else, it’s brevity. If you were receiving upwards of 50-100 emails per day, or had so many obligations that you were only left with a short amount of time to check email, it’d be easy to see why. In order to get your messages read ASAP, it’s best to make sure your opening email follows the ASAP rule: as short as possible.

I wouldn’t put a set limit on email length, because it’s a case by case basis. The important thing to remember is to always edit your emails at least once to trim unnecessary information. People don’t need your enthralling life story over email, they just need “who, what, why” so they can get back to business.


Being blunt doesn’t mean not being persuasive, it simply means getting to the point without trying to be clever. Stories and jokes are essential for other forms of writing, but NOT for emails. Get to the incentive on why the other person should respond right away.

If possible, list a number in the title to signal commitment time (Ex: “3 quick questions”) and state exactly what the email is about in the subject line.


I sometimes am in disbelief that this one needs to be said, but it’s so true. I’ve had emails where people send what looks like a newsletter, emails with tons of images in them (so I have to click “display images” to even read it), and emails with a DOZEN attachments. When it’s your first time emailing someone…

Keep it simple, stupid.

Read Greg’s complete 9-step email guide here.

Source: Stick to the 3-B Plan when Emailing Busy People
To this I would add one thought that is becoming obvious to me lately. I divide information into two categories; just in time and just in case. Just in time is information that affects relationship and revenue and should go in an inbox. A link, however, is most often just in case information. Now, think about the context of the person receiving the information and where they will receive it. If your communication is ‘just in time’ then follow the rules above to get a response – I even go so far as to try to limit my communication to the amount of space available in a single smartphone screen or limiting the message to a single thought so that the busy person on the other end [who is hopefully a Getting Things Done [GTD] practitioner] can do it in two minutes or less. If I’m sending a link, however, why not send it to them in their favorite social network? You will find them in a context where they are already looking at links anyway! I believe that if you think about the context in which a busy person will be reading your message and you communicate accordingly, you will eventually move to the top of the heap. What do you think?

Good stuff, David. I’m doing a series on Getting Things Done [GTD] on the internet. Coincidentally, I wrote about Email last week here:

Live & Learn

PrintI’m productive. Efficient. I’ve been told by many – obsessively productive and efficient.  I chew up tasks and spit them out.  Yet, one can always be more productive, right?  I’ve been in a life long search for the Holy Grail of a Zero Email Box solution at the end of each day.  A search for the best To-Do program.  A hunt for a better way to manage projects. A race to squeeze more into each day.  I believe being more productive is possible. Within reach.  Just within the ends of my fingertips.

So, when I came across Robin Sharma’s post titled “Become The Most Productive Person You Know”, I was like Zeke on his bone – on it.   When Sharma opened his post by stating: “I want to help you create explosive productivity so you get big things done (and make your life matter)…”, I was giddy. …

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Before You Send That Angry E-mail

Michael Hyatt writes:

Over the course of my career, I have fired off my share of angry letters and e-mail. However, I cannot think of a single time when these communiques had a positive effect. Usually, they only served to escalate the conflict and alienate the recipient.” Get more here: Before You Send That Angry E-mail | Michael Hyatt.

Think twice, click send once…

Email Is Not Broken; We Are

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Here’s an interesting perspective on the ‘problem’ of email…

There’s a constant flow of “email is/is not broken” articles across the internet, but most of them miss the point. Email as a system is not broken, but we, through our email behaviors, are.

Nearly all of the articles written recently about fixing email have concentrated on technology and building a better client or implementing the specs more closely or bringing two systems together. These are all great ideas and have a ton of value, but they will not fix the inherent issue that people are experiencing with email, but which most articles fail to articulate: we think email is broken because we are overwhelmed by it and get less real work done because of it.

So instead of asking how we can make email better/faster/cooler, we need to ask ourselves how we can get more work done while still using email. Unfortunately, many experiences have shown over the past decade or so that this problem is not easily solved by new technology, as much as I would love that. It is solved by teaching people better email behaviors. This is certainly a less sexy solution, but guess what? It’s the attainable one. Here are some ideas that I’ve come across from others, and that warrant further investigation. They are all designed to help us get more real work done, which is the real problem with the email timesink.

Source: Email Is Not Broken; We Are

You can go to the source and read the author’s perspective, but while you’re here consider this: I think email is ‘broken’ because we let the wrong things in to begin with — in other words, we have no one to blame but ourselves. Most peoples’ inboxes are like their kitchen junk drawers – how can they expect to find anything of value in there? Instead, try using email only for ‘just in case’ information – information that affects relationships and revenue and all that goes along with it – and use an rss reader like Google Reader for all the ‘just in case’ info. That philosophy alone will make your email infinitely more manageable! As you get more efficient, you can add David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done‘ principles to your approach…

If you’re looking for more ideas like this, check out my free ebook on ‘personal news aggregation’. Go to and click the register button. You might also be interested in this recent post I did on effectively consuming information

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How to be an ‘Inbox Hero’ with Gmail

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Last Wednesday we began a series of ‘lunch and learn’ presentations at The Docking Station in Green Bay, WI and I am pleased to share it [almost] in its entirety below. This is the first in a series of ongoing presentations on the topic of thought leadership marketing which will be published in a book called “Be Known” on July 8, 2012.

Why start with Gmail? The answer to me is obvious; if you can’t manage your e-mail how can you be proactive in social media? Personally I don’t believe that you can ever get ahead as long as you are a victim of your inbox

I have outlined my thoughts on these topics in previous e-book called ‘personal news aggregation‘ which is free for the registration here. Just click on the word registration, supply a username and e-mail address and you will immediately gain free access. If you want to be a thought leader you have to be able to manage the content you need so that you can become and be known as the expert. The journey starts in your inbox!

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In many ways, blogging is no more difficult than sending an email and much more effective in the long run…

“If you’re a great baker or known for your mad IT skills, chances are you get asked the same things over and over again. You probably also end up fielding distress calls from frantic friends struggling with a pie gone awry or a blue screen of death. Instead of typing out the same email responses repeatedly or talking yet another person through a troubleshooting process, slap up a web page with your own personal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and answers.

Next time you’re tapping out 2 single-spaced pages to Aunt Gertrude describing photosynthesis in all its glory and splendor, consider emailing it to something like Posterous instead; then, fire Aunt Gertrude a link to the page. Now, not only will Trudy have all the chlorophyll-related knowledge [she] can tolerate, but Google will probably stop by and maybe send some other interested parties your way. And the next time somebody hits you up about it, you need only send them a link to that thing you already wrote instead of rehashing the same crap all over again!

We think that’s a pretty ingenious approach to helping people out with a minimum of impact on your valuable time. Of course, there will always be times when you’ll want to help someone directly instead of pushing them off to a web site, but building a personal FAQ is still a smart idea. Your friends and family will probably appreciate it, too, since they might feel weird about bothering you during the dinner hour to help them solve a problem. This way, they don’t have to.” Source: Create a Personal FAQ for Friends Who Want Your Advice – Troubleshooting – Lifehacker

I originally started blogging when I became chairman of a local volunteer organization. I didn’t want to spam members with every great article I found so I posted the ‘just in case’ info on a blog so I could save ‘just in time’ info for emails — that way I didn’t offend members with too much information and they actually kinda paid attention when I sent an email because they knew it wasn’t just another good website I found. A year later, I was stunned to see that my posts had attracted 25,000 pageviews from 93 countries and I was hooked on blogging forever…

This blog has evolved from the simple strategy outlined in the source. In many ways, the blog is little more than a repository for all the cool stuff I find every morning in my ‘virtual newspaper’. Like the source author, if I have something brilliant to say in email or a resource to share, I post it first and then send it based on the principle that if it’s worth sharing with one person, it’s worth sharing with billions. The fact of the matter is you don’t have time NOT to blog! Comment, call or ‘connect’ so we can talk about how this applies to your organization…

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Are you still getting email newsletters? I’m doing everything I can to eliminate them and keep my inbox for ‘just in time’ information only. Wait! Where do I get the information which was contained in those newsletters? Through newsfeeds. Here’s a post that might help you get started…

“Do you have a huge number of blog and news feeds in your feedreader that you can’t possibly keep up with on a daily basis? Or, on the other end of the spectrum, have you resisted deciphering those three little letters, RSS, and continue to check your bookmarked links regularly to see if your favorite web pages have updated?

Now there is a new — and incredibly simple — solution. Guy Kawasaki, whom I used to read in Macworld Magazine when he was the original brand evangelist, recently started a new network of websites called Based on the popurls model, the sites — each focusing on a specific topic — show the latest five posts from a wide range of news sources and blogs covering that topic, all on one page. Topics include celebrities, health, “green,” social media, small business and many others.

I suggested to Guy that he create a “nonprofit” topic and worked with him to identify news and blog feeds that should be included. And that’s how was born.”

Whether you take the Alltop approach or use the free Google Reader to subscribe to feeds — just do it! Getting newsletters out of your inbox and into your browser is a great way to resist following the rabbit trail of an interesting newsletter in the middle of your work. Save your inbox for action and your newsreading for a newsreader! Contact me if you’re interested in learning how to make the switch…

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Nice praise for one of my favorite tools…

“Financial Times reports that Gmail has about 100 million users and the growth rate is still significant: “[Gmail] has been gaining ground in the US over the past year, with users growing by more than 40 per cent, compared to 2 per cent for Yahoo and a 7 per cent fall in users of Microsoft’s webmail.” 

Even though the competing mail services improved their offerings and storage is no longer an important differentiator, Gmail still offers an unmatched user experience. After using Gmail, you’ll no longer understand why Yahoo Mail places the “Send button” above the message, why Yahoo Mail thinks it’s more important to show news and weather information instead of your inbox, why Yahoo Mail still charges for features that are available for free in Gmail, why Hotmail shows a large banner at the top of the page or why you can’t auto-forward mail to a non-Hotmail account. Gmail made so many right choices that it’s easy to ignore some of its quirks, downtimes or bugs.” Source: On Gmail’s Success

Don’t forget that you can also outsource your corporate email to Google as well! Ask me how…

“Today, I was firing off a couple of emails when I noticed that the message count in the top corner said, “483 Messages”! I decided enough was enough and began doing some more research into managing my inbox. I checked up on,, and a few others to see what was going on. One of the best words of wisdom I found, however, rested in Scott Hanselman’s blog.

Remember that your inbox is not storage, it’s a list of what hasn’t been categorized yet.

This is exactly what my inbox had become. Sure it was kind of handy to have every email that I have received in the past year within a couple of pages, but I thought there must be a better way to manage it. I will list a few of the resources that I picked up, but let me sum most of them up.” Click here to read more…

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…from a reputable source…

“Want to be sure that you are a valuable member of the team? Well, then don’t annoy your coworkers with your email habits. Or worse, don’t annoy your superiors.

“Since email is now the number one business communication tool it’s become the best way to trumpet your value and save your job,” says Mike Song, a top email efficiency and etiquette expert and lead author of the bestselling book, The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your Email Before It Manages You.” Source: IT Management » Blog Archive » Be A Good Emailer

Go to the source to read the whole article — it’s worth it!

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Does this sound familiar?

“I routinely declare email bankruptcy and simply delete my entire inbox. But even so, I currently have 2,433 unread emails in my inbox. Plus another 721 in my Facebook inbox. and about thirty skype message windows open with unanswered messages. It goes without saying, of course, that my cell phone voicemail box is also full (I like the fact that new messages can’t be left there, so I have little incentive to clear it out).

How do I deal with email now? I scan the from and subject fields for high payoff messages. People I know who don’t waste my time, or who I have a genuine friendship with. Or descriptive subject lines that help me understand that I should allot a minute or more of my life to opening it and reading it.”

Wow. Talk about a dysfunctional way of handling communications! Are you having problems like this? Here are a couple of ideas…

  1. Use Gmail. No other ISP offers the tools to handle large volumes of email like Gmail…
  2. Read ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen. If you’re in a hurry, skip to #3…
  3. Check out Inbox Zero

If you can’t implement it on your own, scroll down and give me a call — I’ll be happy to help you out…

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When did you last check your email?

I’d bet it was within the last hour. Quite possibly within the last ten minutes. You might well have your inbox open right now, with message alerts jumping up at you.

Almost everyone I talk to feels that email takes up too much of their time. If you work for an employer, in a traditional office environment, you might have your email open from the moment you get into the office until the moment you shut down your computer at the end of the day.

(And you’ve probably checked email after hours or on the weekends, too.)

If you’re self-employed or work from yourself, it’s probably even worse. You might find yourself worrying about emails during dinner, or when you’re supposed to be having some family time.

The problem isn’t knowing what to do. You’ve read plenty of advice telling you to close the inbox, to avoid checking emails first thing in the day, and to get on with your key tasks first. But are you doing it?

There’s this and there’s the tool that you’re using to manage email. Have you looked into Google Apps for your business? I guarantee you it will make you more productive if you take the time to learn the paradigm! Comment, call or use the contact form to discuss how this applies to your organization…

I recently came across this post from my Internet buddy Brandon Henak and I’ve been thinking about it all week. It was about using Plaxo for unified contact management and it went like this…

“The people in your network and the relationships you develop with them are some of your most valuable assets as a young professional. You look to them first for advice, job opportunities or just to discuss the latest events in your life. How you keep track of all the contact information you have collected in your personal and professional life is crucial to your success.

Contacts Everywhere!

In the poll we took earlier today we saw an interesting breakdown of contact management solutions, from relying on a cell phone to store contact information to using Microsoft Outlook, Facebook and other online sites. Each one of the solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. I have tried every one of the solutions listed with various degrees of success but, what if you could use each of them where they work the best, Outlook at the office, Mac Address Book at home and Plaxo online, without having to manually update each? I recently found a way to centralize and standardize all my contact and calendar information across all the services I use, automatically!

Sync them up!

Enter Plaxo 3.0 beta with Sync Points. After setting up an account, all I had to do was click on the “Add Sync Point” link for each of the programs I wanted to use (in my case Google, Mac Address Book, Outlook, and AIM) and it walks you through the process of putting in your login information for Google and downloading small add-ins for Outlook and Mac Address Book. Now, all of my sources sync together and I can sync all my contacts to my phone through Address Book. Any addition anywhere flows across the systems and is easily accessible.”

This was particularly interesting to me because I’m a Plaxo subscriber, but I’ve experienced a lot of problems with contact management. So what’s the problem?

A little background info…

I’ve been in marketing, sales, and technology for 25 years now and I have collect over 5,000 vcards and thousands more business cards that aren’t documented. I use 7 computers spanning three platforms and I want to access my contacts on all of them.

The answer?

The answer for me, like Brandon, starts with Plaxo for the following reasons:

  1. It’s platform and browser independent.
  2. It offers ‘sync points’ for the tools I use or have access to; Outlook, Thunderbird, a Treo 700wx running Windows Mobile 5. [Many more are available…]
  3. Members can choose to link to give one another the latest contact information as soon as it changes.
  4. The duplicate merger/remover is among the best I’ve used.
  5. There is a growing social network component which is a cross between Facebook and LinkedIn.

So if Plaxo is the answer, what’s MY problem? In a nutshell, using Plaxo was causing, not eliminating duplicates. Or, better said, using Plaxo with ActiveSync was causing duplicates. When I made the decision to stop using two synchronization tools simultaneously, my problems went away and I got closer to the promised land that Brandon was describing…

More background. I’m currently in the process of moving to Linux; I don’t want to pay ransom to Microsoft anymore and although I’m a former Apple account executive, I don’t want to pay for Apple’s industrial design when I can have the benefits of a Linux based operating system on inexpensive Intel hardware. The answer for me is Linux.

For now, however, my solution set consists of Plaxo, Microsoft Outlook 2003 [I only said I didn’t want to pay anymore – I’ll still use what I have], Gmail, Google Calendar and a Treo 700wx. I see myself moving off Outlook to Thunderbird/Lightning [Mozilla’s answer to contact and calendar management – Mozilla is only going to get better at this!] and off the Treo onto either a Blackberry or the Google Android platform. Thankfully [?], Sprint is forcing me to keep my current phone until September when the outlook on Google’s approach to cellphones should be known…

A big part of solving my problem was also to realize [thanks to David Allen] that some contacts are context sensitive, namely, that I don’t need to be able to call all 5,000 people from my cellphone – some I only need to be able to access when I’m sitting at a computer. I was actually synchronizing contacts for which I didn’t have a telephone number to my phone! Why? Because I was going to send them an email from the phone? Unlikely. In reality, I have found that after careful analysis, I actually need to synchronize less than 200 contacts between my phone and my computer and if I really were honest with myself, there are probably less than a hundred people that I call on a regular basis. So, I copied all my contacts to a folder called ‘Master’ in Outlook and deleted all contacts that I either hadn’t called or didn’t anticipate calling this quarter [there’s a copy of the deleted contacts in Master, remember?] As a result, I’m only synchronizing what I have to now. This is a HUGE savings of time and energy and silly as it may seem, actually represents a massive epiphany for me. Call me Captain Obvious?

The underlying idea here is getting closer to a world where it doesn’t matter what computer or platform you’re using – your information is accessible from anywhere! Plaxo can get you a good part of the way there…

By the way, if you’re not using Google Desktop, start! It can unify all the computers you’re using and allow you to search your Gmail and your computers in the same way you search the internet now…

Why email won’t die anytime soon

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

If you follow the tech media, you’ll know that every few months, some journalist or blogger will start speculating about the imminent demise of email. Headlines along the lines of “Email is Dying” or “The Death of Email” show up in RSS feeds all over the place. You know the drill. This has been going on for years and we’re surprised this argument hasn’t (pardon the pun) died out by now.

Here are some of the points that tend to be be raised:

* People today, especially young people, prefer the immediacy of IM and SMS. So email is dying.

* A variation on the above is that email is old technology (it dates back to the early 1970s) based on the concept of traditional postal mail and doesn’t suit our current needs very well. So email is dying.

* The amount of spam is huge. So email is dying.

One of the more recent claims that email will soon be a thing of the past came from none other than Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. Incidentally, he said this while launching Facebook’s new messaging system…

Email, however, is most definitely not dying, and here’s why.

via Royal Pingdom » Why email won’t die anytime soon. You can follow the ‘via’ link to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you’d like to dig a little deeper but in the meantime, if you have to use email, use Gmail or Google Apps for Business. Comment, call or use the contact form to connect so we can talk about how this applies to your business…

Email Overload: Download a Free Copy of David Allen’s Email Rules

Getting Things Done
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Having problems managing email?

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done and inspiration for a lot of posts ’round these parts, gives away a free four-page PDF at his website that covers his basic principals for keeping email organized. Getting specific without going too in-depth, he explains the ‘two minute rule,’ why action-able emails should be kept separate from others, and why creating your own system—such as Gina’s [Trapani’s] modified ‘Trusted Trio‘. Great reading for GTD neophytes, and a good brush-up for the rest of us.”

Click here to get your copy! If you’re a Gmail user [and I hope you are] there’s more information here on how to use Gina’s system with Gmail or Google Apps mail.

Me personally? I use Gmail and Google Apps mail in conjunction with Remember The Milk [RTM]– the powerful task manager with the equally funny name. RTM gives me special tools to use within Gmail that allows me to convert an email to a task. In all fairness, Google now includes this feature in their task management system, however, it was not available when I built my approach to task management…

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Handling Email; 5+ emails you should filter

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Email is such a simple tool but it makes or breaks so many people’s productivity and it breaks my heart to see how many people struggle with handling it…

“How many emails do you have in your inbox right now? Are you an inbox zero freak like me? Or do you have emails piled up and unread that you’re hoping you’ll get time to get to?

I’m not judging – I used to have as messy an inbox as anyone. And even now, if I go on vacation or don’t check my email for too long, I can get in a heap of trouble: the email piles up, and it can be a real chore getting back to my empty inbox.

I’ve got a few tips up my sleeve though to make dealing with email a little less painful – and I’ve found the best defense is a strong offense. In this article, I’m going to give you some concrete tips and examples to reduce the number of emails in your inbox instantly – and help you keep it that way long term with the use of filters.” Source: 5 Types of Emails You Should be Automatically Filtering – Stepcase Lifehack

Here are the 5 types:

  • Newsletters
  • Forwarded articles
  • Comments and pings from my blog
  • Facebook/Twitter/Social Media Notifications
  • Store Promotions
  • cc:’s [This one is my own — and I’ll explain later]

You’ll have to go to the source if you’re interested in the full rationale behind these statements. #6 [the one I added] comes from seeing how email is used as a CYA tool in large corporations. I have a friend — let’s call her Sue — Sue is an important mucky-muck at a large manufacturing organization and she’s stuck in email hell. She’s a slave to Outlook and her BlackBerry. I would venture to say that 70% or more of the email she receives is CYA. How much easier Sue’s life would be if she’d only use Outlook to put all the emails where her name appears on the cc: line in a special folder to read later when she had more time. Or used the filter on her BlackBerry Enterprise Server to only send her the emails where her name appeared on the to: line. Sigh!

As the author says, these filters work particularly well with Gmail or Google Apps [both of which I use] to manage mail effectively.

“Once you’ve created some of these filters, GMail (what I use) has an option to immediately run them on whatever you’ve got in your inbox. Use this to instantly filter low priority items away so you can focus on what’s important.

Going forward, your filters will be applied to any new email that comes in. This will keep your inbox clean so you can read the relevant, important emails first, before you head to your folders to deal with these low priority emails that may still be important to you – but don’t require as quick a response.” Source: 5 Types of Emails You Should be Automatically Filtering – Stepcase Lifehack

One more thought for those of you unlucky enough to be on MY emailing target list. I send ‘just in case’ info from my personal gmail account and important ‘just in time’ email from my e1evation account. If you’re smart, you’ll filter emails from and make sure emails from are granted the HIGHEST priority! Those of you who are prolific emailers may want to grant your frequent recipients a similar escape hatch…

As always, I invite readers to comment, call or contact me and let me know what YOU think [or ask for help if they’re caught in email hell!]…

Google Reader and Feedly

John Jantsch is validating what I’ve been telling you for months

“If you use an RSS reader to subscribe to and read blogs (and you should) then you know what a great tool it can be to keep you up to date, well-read and inspired.

I’ve used the free Google Reader tool for a long time and love it’s simplicity. However, a reader of this blog (Rob Kirby) pointed out a very cool tool called Feedly that takes my subscriptions and creates a much better looking magazine like interface. To me better looking translates into more useful when it comes to scanning a hundred blogs or so. Feedly immediately brought all of my feeds and organization folders over from Google so set-up was instantaneous.

But that’s just the beginning. Feedly is a Firefox add-on that functions using my Google Reader account so all my Feedly activity is still saved to Google Reader. Adding blog subscriptions as simple as a click, but I can also pages I find, video, images, anything I want to bookmark and organize. I can share and email articles I find and the tool analyzes the content I seem to like and gently suggests where I might find more.” Source: A Beautiful Way to Read More Blogs | Small Business Marketing Blog from Duct Tape Marketing

Go to the source for the rest of the article! Perhaps you’ll like his version better… ;-)

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5 reasons why Gmail rocks!

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Lifehacker says…

Email as a technology has been around for decades, and thanks to wide spread adoption and popularity, it isn’t in danger of disappearing. Check out the five most popular email clients to help you wrangle your email.

Earlier this week we asked your to share your favorite email client. We didn’t restrict the voting to only stand-alone email applications or web-based email clients, but we did specify that if you voted for a web-based tool it had to have distinctly client-like features—such as Gmail’s ability to fetch and sort email from other sources. The email Call for Contenders was one of the most popular we’ve ever had, with over 1,000 votes logged. Source: Five Best Email Clients – email clients – Lifehacker

The poll is one of their most popular ever and Gmail is kicking it! Here were the results when I voted…

I won’t lie — I have been a massive fan of Gmail since day one — I’m convinced [to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote on beer] that it is ‘proof that God loves us and wants us to be productive’. The benefits are too numerous to mention, but here are a few that pop to mind at this moment…

  • The ability to search your email using a special Google syntax means you’ll rarely [won’t say never] lose another email
  • Ample storage for all your email and documents online so that important stuff is always available
  • The ability to use Gmail as your corporate email through Google Apps
  • As a web-based product it’s completely cross platform and available from computers down to smartphones
  • It gets better almost daily whereas other email clients must go through a long development cycle to provide updates

btw, I still use Outlook and Thunderbird daily, and I have used AppleMail and tried the Postbox beta [Note: you can use them all in conjunction with Gmail if you’d like]. None of them can touch Gmail’s ability to simply and effectively process that never ending river of correspondence. Nothing’s worse than knowing the answer is in your inbox but not being able to find it — I see colleagues wrestle with their email clients every day trying to solve problems that are simple for Gmail users. Sigh. If only they knew how to use Gmail like I do…

Comment, call or contact me to discuss how this applies to your business — I’d be happy to demo why I think Gmail is such a compelling product for EVERYONE…

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5 Sentences

I post a lot about email. Why? Because for most business people the battle for control over the inbox is THE most critical fight they face each day. Most actionable items come to us in the form of email and tools like GTD and Inbox Zero help us process that information [search the blog for those topics]…

What about writing emails? There’s a move afoot called 5 Sentences. It’s not complex — you can read everything you need to know about it here. Guy Kawasaki also wrote about it in his post ‘Ten Things to Learn This School Year ‘:

“How to write a five-sentence email. Young people have an advantage over older people in this area because older people (like me) were taught to write letters that were printed on paper, signed, stuck in an envelope, and mailed. Writing a short email was a new experience for them. Young people, by contrast are used to IMing and chatting. If anything, they’re too skilled on brevity, but it’s easier to teach someone how to write a long message than a short one. Whether UR young or old, the point is that the optimal length of an email message is five sentences. All you should do is explain who you are, what you want, why you should get it, and when you need it by.”

Handling email effectively is not only knowing how to process your inbox — it’s a collaborative effort on all our parts to write better and more succinct emails!

Step away from the inbox | Simply GTD with Kelly

“A few times lately in GTD classes, people have asked me for recommendations on how often I process email. There are some approaches out there that suggest people only check email once a day. Sounds pretty extreme to me, especially if your world moves pretty fast and real work is getting done through email. I check email as often as I need to and at least once a day my Inbox is at zero. However, I do think stepping away from the constant stream of new input can be helpful, if not essential, to getting things done. Otherwise, it can be like standing in front of a fire hydrant with water blasting you in the face. You’ll keep getting pelted until you step away from it.” Click the title to read more…

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