Email chains can quickly get out of hand if you don't have a system in place to deal with them.

Want to break free? How to be rid of overly long email chains


The modern workplace relies on the digital space when face-to-face communication isn’t appropriate. However, dialogue can quickly get out of hand and become unmanageable. It’s likely that you’ve got one colleague who likes to hit the ‘reply all’ column on emails.

A picture or gif or two have a time and a place, but some people misunderstand how their work email should be used. The business can be affected if mission-critical information is buried at the bottom of a long, ill-informed chain.

Consequently, communicating effectively via email will occasionally require you to purge your inbox. Here are the things to keep in mind:

Hit mute

Many of today’s business email packages have a heap of innovative features that can boost your productivity. What about those that ensure that distracting emails are kept at bay? That’s where mute comes in.

The majority of inboxes have a solution that will allow you to silence certain individuals or even groups. Be sure to take advantage of this if you need some quiet time to get work done.

Change your language

A study published by the University of Wellington has explained that a workplace’s culture is expressed through both its external and internal email communications. Consequently, how you act in email dialogues will be picked up on by peers. Use this to your advantage when trying to avoid a vast ‘reply all’ chain.

You should switch up your language to get people’s attention. For example, ‘cheers’ is a relatively casual and friendly way to sign off an email. However, if you change to a word like ‘regards’ or even ‘sincerely’ your peers will subconsciously recognise the different tone.

This will then make it obvious to all involved that its time for the chain to cease. The affects of this are likely to be even more notable if you’re in an advanced leadership position.

Ultimately, thorough and effective communication hinges on many factors. However, you’ll be able to get your point across easily and be more productive if you have a handle on any overly long emails.

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