Email is our most used touchpoint with key business contacts both within and outside our companies, yet we rarely collaborate with others to craft the ideal messages for critical communications. While everyone might obsess over document layout, punctuation choices, and font sizes in the files we send and share, most of us continually overlook the contents of the emails used to deliver those attachments and links. Outlook isn’t conducive to joint email authoring and review, discouraging most from awkwardly sending around the text of a given message for additional input.
This collaboration gap flies in the face of the overall trends we see in workplaces every day. Cloud computing, screen sharing, and asynchronous messaging enable frictionless, real-time opportunities to join forces and work together on platforms like Microsoft Teams. It’s easier than ever to invite as many people to a Teams chat or channel as you’d like. They can chime in with their opinions, make edits, contribute, review, comment on, and ultimately approve the documents, presentations, and other files we use to conduct business.
And while most emails don’t require the scrutiny of a large crowd before hitting send, select messages are worthy of that increased attention and review. Let’s dig into when it makes sense to turn email authoring into a group exercise and the easiest way to do it.
Email is free, and its “easy come, easy go” nature makes it essential to stand out from the crowd, grab the recipient’s attention, and deliver a clear and concise message in short order. You only get so many chances to communicate with a customer, prospect, or partner, so you want to make the most of each opportunity.
At the same time, the contents of your email could also live on for decades thanks to email retention policies and legal discovery rules. This increases the importance of ensuring the contents are accurate and appropriate for the audience.
Emails make a first impression. Whether it’s a cold introduction, a sales proposal, a contract negotiation, or a support issue, the emails we send are often the first interaction we have with organizations or an individual. They get a new message in their inbox, see who it’s from, and glance at the subject line. In many cases, that’s literally as far as you’ll ever get with them since the delete button is just a pinky finger away from obliterating that email from their inbox.
You need to make your point quickly. If you’re lucky enough to have them actually open the message, you’ve got a brief few seconds to keep their attention and deliver your key message so they remain engaged. That’s why even in emails adopting a BLUF (bottom line up front) strategy makes sense in many cases. Only after they peruse the entire text of the message will they get to the link or attachment you want them to open and view.
Every email is a record. You might delete your emails and strive for Inbox Zero, but your recipient may have a different approach. In fact, they might have a legal obligation to retain your message as a record for months or years as part of their corporate email retention policies. Your casual mistakes, typos, or outdated info can live on for quite a while, potentially even coming back to haunt you.
Context means everything. Unless you’ve achieved omnipotence or your team is reliably sharing every sent email, you probably don’t know every detail of every interaction between your organization and the recipient. You also may be unaware of everything happening inside your own organization that might impact the offers, promises, or commitments contained in a given email. Maybe a sales rep quoted them a lower price or the CTO needs updated API documentation to close a deal. Including other relevant stakeholders in the email authoring and review process ensures alignment and that you don’t miss those details.
Now that you know why email collaboration makes sense, it’s time to actually make it happen. Luckily, today’s tools and technology make things way faster and more efficient than emailing around email drafts and then trying to shoehorn in comments and edits from multiple parties.
Microsoft 365 users have two different places where they can collaborate on email drafts: Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. Once the email draft is in Teams or SharePoint, everyone can see and make edits to the draft, ensuring it’s perfect before it gets sent to anyone else.
The easiest way to save Outlook email drafts to Teams or SharePoint is using the harmon.ie 365 suite. Once it’s installed, you just click the Save Draft Message button in the harmon.ie ribbon and select where you want it saved.
With harmon.ie in your toolbox and a commitment to collaboration, you and your organization can work together to create accurate emails that deliver the ideal message to recipients. Start your free trial today to get started.