I read a story recently about military protocol in emails. A bureacracy as large as the military surely sends a lot of emails. They’ve figured out some interesting ways to make it more efficient for people.
Military-precision subject lines
In the subject of each email there is a selection of words to start it off. They are:
- ACTION – Meaning some thing in the email is mandatory for the recipient to do.
- INFO – Informational emails where no response is required. This would hopefully cut down on “Thanks!” emails.
- DECISION – This requires a decision to be made. There’s probably some overlap with “ACTION” here.
- COORD – As in, coordination is required with the recipients.
There are some others, and I might add my own for “REVIEW” (as in “review and approve”), but this is a good idea. I’m stealing it for any emails I originate.
The BLUF Line
Likewise, there’s a “Bottom Line Up Front” line at the top. The kids call this tl;dr, as in “Too Long, Didn’t Read”. I’m calling it “In Short”. It’s a short tweet-sized summary of the email. Perfect for quick glances and it increases the likelihood someone can respond quickly.