Archive for the ‘Email Etiquette’ category

Is Your Email Inbox Destroying Your Productivity? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

March 2, 2011

Email was designed to increase productivity.  However, most people have lost all control of their inboxes and allowed email to destroy their productivity.  Here are 5 easy steps you can take to regain control of your inbox, so that you can be more productive at work:

  1. Pick up the phone.  If you find yourself spending more than 5 minutes writing an email, that’s a sign you should be making a phone call instead.  Email should only be used for administrative matters, not for anything open to interpretation.
  2. Save templates.  Create a folder in your email system for “email templates” or “common emails” and save copies of any emails that you send frequently.  Then, rather than having to re-write the same email 100 times, you can simply copy and paste the template and update whatever changes are necessary.  I have templates for emails sent to new networking contacts, templates sent to prospects after initial sales calls, templates for people signing up for my e-newsletter, and so on.  Saves me a TON of time.  Just make sure you personalize each email template before sending!
  3. Create email folders and USE them.  Create folders for different categories of messages.  For example, you could classify emails by client, by project, and so on.  Rather than keeping all emails in your “inbox,” this makes it much more manageable to find emails later on, and it prevents your inbox from looking full.  I also have an email folder entitled “read later.”  Whenever I receive an e-newsletter or a message from one of my LinkedIn groups, I move it to my “read later” folder, which I only check on Fridays or weekends.
  4. Use the “delete” button.  Save the last message in an email thread and delete all prior emails.  Clean out your inbox weekly and delete any messages not worth saving; over 90% all emails fall into this category.     
  5. Keep email CLOSED most of the day.  Do NOT keep your email system open all day.  I used to do this, and I’d drop whatever I was doing every time an email popped up.  My clients and colleagues loved the fact that I often replied in less than 30 seconds, but I’d constantly get interrupted.  Even worse, if/when people did not hear back from me within 15 minutes, they would call me to see why I had not responded yet.  I had conditioned everyone around me to expect rapid responses.  Keep your email CLOSED most of the day, and check it every hour, or a few times each day.  If people really need to reach you, they should pick up the phone and call you!  Otherwise, they should be prepared to wait up to 24 hours for a reply.

Take control of your inbox, and your stress will decrease, and your productivity will go through the roof! 

P.S. Please comment below if you like this article, or if you have another idea on how to use your email inbox to be more productive!  To learn more about my speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please visit or send an email to

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


Twitter: @peteleibman


9 Keys on How to Email a New Networking Contact During a Job Search (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

January 6, 2011

Students and young professionals ALWAYS ask me what they should say when first reaching out to someone for career advice, so here is your blueprint. 

The bottom line is this: People have to trust you and like you BEFORE they will help you, refer you, hire you, or buy from you.  Therefore, the goal of any initial communication with a new networking contact is to build trust and rapport. 

Here are 9 keys on how to do that via email:

  1. Use a Compelling Subject Line For Your Email. (This makes a great first impression and increases your chances of getting a quick, favorable response.)
  2. Establish something in common.  (It could be a mutual acquaintance, a shared affiliation, you saw them speak at an event, you read their book, a recent blog entry or article, you attended the same college, etc.).
  3. Compliment their work and acknowledge how busy they are, without being a kiss-up.
  4. Describe yourself and your dream with passion and confidence.  (Remember The Lemonade Stand Principle: older people LOVE to help ambitious, younger people.)
  5. Include 2 calls-to-action.  (Don’t go overboard, but include a bigger request and a smaller request.  They might agree to the bigger request.  Even if they don’t, the smaller request will look even smaller in comparison to the bigger request, making it more likely to be accepted than if you had just sent the smaller request.) 
  6. Ask for “ADVICE.”  (Do NOT ask for a job or for help finding a job.)
  7. Write the email in a professional, reader-friendly format.  (Do NOT send a lengthy, poorly written email.  Students and recent grads are notorious for that.  Make your email is well-written and easy to read, and remove any word, phrase, or sentence that is not 100% necessary.)
  8. Use an excellent email signature. 
  9. Include a personal, high-value P.S. (This could be a thoughtful question or a link to an interesting, relevant article).

Here is an example.  Use this as a template and tweak it based on your background and who you are reaching out to, etc.

Hi Mr. Smith, 

Given your success and experience in the sports marketing industry, Dave Jackson at ABC Company thought you might be willing to give me some advice.

In May 2011, I will be graduating with Honors from Johns Hopkins University.  I’ve worked extremely hard in and out of the classroom during my time at JHU and am very motivated to achieve my dream of working in sports marketing after college.

Would it be possible for me to take you out for a cup of coffee, or for us to schedule a 15-minute phone call?  It would be great to meet you, ask you a few quick questions, and learn more about how you got started in the field.

I know you are very busy, so thank you for your time and consideration.

P.S. Here is a link to an interesting article about the future of sports marketing that I thought you would enjoy:


Your Name

President of XYZ Business Fraternity

Johns Hopkins University

Try this out, and let me know how it goes!

-Pete Leibman

-Career Expert, Author, Speaker, and Coach

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour


Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. I speak nationwide to groups of students and young professionals.  To learn more about my programs and speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please send an email to

Be careful with what you write in your emails! (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

May 7, 2010
When used incorrectly, email can endanger your career…

While employed at a previous job, I received an email one afternoon from one of my colleagues. The email was entitled, “New account”  and said the following:

                “Hey Pete, I noticed you just inherited the account for Bill Jenkins  [note: this was not his real name].  I just wanted to let you know what a jerk he is.  He is very dishonest, always telling me that I promised him things I never did.  You really have to be careful around this guy. Let me know if you have any questions.”

After reading this message, I happened to notice that someone else had also been cc’ed on the email.


It was Bill Jenkins of course… My colleague had mistakenly cc’ed the person she was complaining about!

I called her up immediately to break the bad news.  As one might expect, she freaked out.  “Oh, no!  What do I do now?”

She then decided to send him another email, claiming that she had been speaking of another “Bill.”  I’m sure he bought that…

Email is a terrific tool that allows us to be much more efficient and productive IF used correctly.  Sending an email for something trivial is a smart use of time (i.e. “John, I received your fax.  Thanks.”)

However, email should NEVER be used for something that could be misconstrued or for something controversial or negative. 

In addition to the fact that people get cc’ed on emails accidentally (this happens more often than you might think), we can accidentally hit send before completing an email, and we also lose control over our emails after sending them out: they can be forwarded to other people.

Do you want to guarantee that you never make the mistake my colleague did that day?  Then, do not type the email address of the recipient of your email until you have written the entire email and proofread it one time.  Make sure you are being careful with your emails!

Thanks for reading!

-Pete Leibman

President of Idealize Enterprises

College Speaker and Career Expert for Gen Y