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Top Tips for a UC World

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There are over 294 billion emails sent every day, 90 percent are spam, but the average knowledge worker receives up to 112 emails a day. If each email interruption, (that annoying pop up in the bottom right hand corner) stops your train of thought for 60 seconds – that would mean over nine hours of interrupted thought a week!

Just imagine if you could have some of that time back. Imagine the things you could have done, achieved, learned.

Unified Communications claims to do this. One of the areas it can address is that nine hours a week. So here are my tips to minimize email. They work well for me. (But remember that different people work in different ways, your workflow is not necessary my workflow.)

Stop. Think.
You are just about to type that email, stop and think for a second. Why are you doing this? Does this feel like a conversation? Do the people you have addressed to need to see this? Any doubt look at your Communicator, if they are available, ring them, IM them. You be surprised how much email this cuts out.

Can I show rather than tell?
If you need to give people information, either in answer to a question or proactively, would the message be transmitted easier if you could show people. Why not launch a Web conference and share your desktop, to show the software configuration. If they are not available why not do a conference with just you in it and record it with ShoreTel’s Collaboration solution. You can then send the link and people can refer to it when they want to. Or if I have a Communicator, Professional Access, why not launch the video connection.

Need to focus.
Turn your email client off, or at least turn off the notifier. Remember those 60 seconds. The amazing thing about email is it will still be there when you return. Just get back to the email when you have your primary function or task done.

Mark unnecessary emails as read.
First thing I do when I log on is to mark all those notifications, out-of-offices, etc., as read. In fact I have configured a rule to do it for me.

Limit your out-of-office.
You really only need to send an out of office when you are on leave or sick. After all our emails get delivered to our mobile devices we were never really “out of the office” from a mobility sense. You also only need to send them to external addresses, internal employees can see your availability in the ShoreTel Communicator or in your email client. Be considerate – your colleagues get those 60 seconds of non-productivity with each email as well.

Mark all CC’s as read.
They weren’t for you anyway. They will still be there if you need to look for them later. If it was meant for me, address it to me. Oh, by the way don’t send CC’s to someone’s line manager. It has the opposite effect than you think. Line managers are busy too. It might make you less of a priority to your intended recipient.

Use your email client tools.
Folders, tagging, rules, etc. can all be used to optimize your email legacy. Tagging is good for categorizing emails so that you can see at a glance. I use red for action, green for reference, blue for “deal with it later.” Rules can auto-delete or move things to other folders automatically as well.

Put functional links in your signature.
It may be a link to a website, where people could get more information. A useful phone number (like a help desk), or maybe your social media links so people have other ways of contacting you and perhaps can find information they need for themselves.

Do I need to travel?.
I travel a lot in execution as my role in ShoreTel, but it is amazing how many meetings you can squeeze in a day if you use integrated collaboration solutions like ShoreTel. Try and do a least one day a week where you utilize these solutions and NOT travel.

Make sure contacts folder is kept up to date.
Communicator imports all your Outlook Contacts when it powers up if your mobile device syncs up. You only have to think of a name not hunt for a number. Also the ShoreTel Mobility RoamAnywhere client on a RIM or Android device runs in the background, and all its functionality and benefit is launched on every call. This makes my life easier, as my contacts list appears on my heads up display in my car and can be activated from my steering wheel. When I call someone I know that ShoreTel Mobility is looking after my communications and I am looking after my driving.

These are just some of my ideas. I recently did a presentation at IPExpo in London, where I talk a lot about how to Simply Collaborate.