So I looked at the facts:
- I write around 20 to 30 emails a day
- I type at a rate of 50 words per minute
- The greeting (“Hey John”) and signature (“Regards, Hassan”) cost me around 5 seconds per email
- That’s a waste of around 15 minutes each week
So here’s how I saved that time in two simple steps:
- Dropped the Greeting: For the greeting, I emailed those I regularly correspond with that I’m going to drop the “Hey/ Dear/ Hi You” part. It was just a waste of time typing “Dear Jane” if you were the only two communicating anyway. Some might think that’s offensive, but not if you tell them you’re going to do it ahead of time. A simple note saying “Hey – given that we email each other regularly, I thought we could both save some time dropping the greeting formalities from our future emails – just like we do through SMS” helps put things in perspective. You can also just link them to this post to save yourself the trouble of explaining 🙂
- Automated the Signature: For the signature, I automated it so I don’t have to retype it in every email. Nearly all email clients have the signature feature – here’s how to add it in Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or Outlook. This isn’t really an innovation as most people already use signatures, but most add only their name. They still waste time retyping “Regards,” “Best,” “Sincerely,” “Take Care,” or “Cheers,” in every message, so adding that courtesy line to your signature makes sense. Extra tip: You can also add an empty line space before your signature to avoid hitting the “Enter” button after every message.
There are a couple of caveats to dropping the greeting. First, do it only if you’re emailing someone one-on-one. If you’re emailing multiple people, even if they’re on CC, it could get confusing as to who you’re directing the message to. Second, this applies to individuals you email regularly and have already established a relationship with. I wouldn’t drop the greeting when emailing a new business client or someone you infrequently correspond with.