Make That High Priority... And Pronto!
When my students do their final presentations, I'm always introduced to some funny and fascinating YouTube videos I would have never found on my own. This one came from a group doing a presentation on how miscommunication leads to office politics situations.
We could probably solve the "high priority" email crisis by doing a "reply all" to the sender with this video attached. They might get the point. After all, if a flood of high priority emails is annoying, imagine how much more annoying this video would seem to them? (And, as a fun irony, send it out as low priority.)
When should an email be marked high priority? Here are my criteria:
- Is the sender's career, life, or livelihood in mortal danger? If you can answer yes to any of those three, you MIGHT have a case. For example, if the company will go bankrupt if the message isn't sent, I can see a high priority marking.
- Do you need to CC a "cast of thousands"? I've found very few broadcast messages that are truly high priority. Other channels might be more appropriate.
- Is the email requesting a specific action to be taken? If it is only informational, can the priority truly be that high?
- Is the message extremely time sensitive? In this case, wouldn't a phone call work better? You can still send the email, but does it need to be marked as high priority if it's just a back-up plan?
What are your criteria for marking emails as high priority? How do you handle those who abuse this email function?