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Reuse Your Emails to Get Whole New Deliverables

27 January 2009 Posted by in category: Knowledge Management with Tags , , , , , , , , ,

reusing-emailsEvery day we send and receive tens of emails (some of us less, some of us a lot more…). Have you ever thought of reusing some of them? I’m talking about the ones you spend more than a couple of minutes writing, those elaborated answers that take time to think of and write. Instead of sending and forgetting about them, here are some suggestions of how to leverage the time and effort you spend writing emails by transforming them into a whole new deliverables.

Additional uses for emails

Source for F&Q

Let’s say you’re a product manager. You frequently get question regarding the product (from external and internal customers). Collect these emails and display them on you company’s website in an F&Q format. It will improve the service your customers get (since they will spend less time searching for answers) and will also save you the need to answer repeatedly the same questions.

Manuals, brochure and Newsletter

Different departments in your company send you instructions and explanations about your product. Integrate them into the product’s manuals, brochures, and Newsletters your company publishes. Obviously, there is a demand for this information; otherwise you would not talk about it in the first place.

Blog post

If you the kind of person who frequently share tips and new ideas with coworkers and friends, you should consider publishing them as blog posts (I did it a couple of times).

New employee induction kit

Here is a personal example: When a new employee arrived at my department, I forward her a bunch of email conversations I had kept just for this purpose. Those emails contained a lot of information about internal work relations, undocumented procedures and so on, which helped her get acclimated. Otherwise, she would have to spend a lot of time getting this information, since some kinds of information are just impossible to find in the company’s formal documentation.

Getting started

To use this method, all you need to do is categorize emails you think might have value in the future. Outlook users can categorize emails by dragging them into predefined folders. Gmail users can assign labels.

Note that the idea here is not just to save emails as a reference or just in case you will need them, but proactively think of future use for them. Try to think if that information might be relevant if different context.

When necessary, go through the relevant folder/label, and copy its content into a new or exciting document, webpage or post. Although some editing might still be needed, it’ll save you a lot of writing and reinventing ideas and make you more customer-oriented.

for more useful email related tips and best practices visit the email tag.