O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

60 minutes to better email

Quick tips for better communication

Topic: Career Development
Matt LeMay

Are you struggling to dig yourself out from an ever-growing inbox? Is that inbox full of open-ended questions and “quick pings” that are difficult to prioritize and address? Do you “hate email” but rely extensively upon it to communicate with your colleagues?

Join expert Matt LeMay to learn quick, actionable tips for using email in a more purposeful and manageable way. You’ll discover why those “quick questions” you’re sending and receiving may be wasting enormous amounts of time for your teams and colleagues and understand how to better balance asynchronous tools like email and collaborative documents with synchronous meetings and face-to-face discussions.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • Why emails that take such a short time to send can take so long to answer
  • How asking for a few minutes of a person’s time can actually be less burdensome than a “quick ping” email
  • How to manage and track the time you’re spending on synchronous and asynchronous communication

And you’ll be able to:

  • Bring clarity to asynchronous asks with an email subject style guide
  • Better understand when to use synchronous time such as meetings
  • Ask for, and offer, specific and finite amounts of time
  • Put structure around collaborative editing tools

This training course is for you because...

  • You want to be more thoughtful and efficient in your use of email, whether you work onsite or remotely.


Recommended preparation:

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Matt LeMay is cofounder and partner at Sudden Compass, a consultancy that helps organizations take a cross-functional and customer-centric approach to work with data. Matt has helped build and scale product management practices at companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 50 enterprises and has developed and led digital transformation and data strategy workshops for companies like GE, American Express, Pfizer, McCann, and Johnson & Johnson. Previously, he was a senior product manager at music startup Songza (acquired by Google) and head of consumer product at Bitly. Matt is the author of Product Management in Practice and Agile for Everybody from O'Reilly and was recognized as a top 50 product management influencer by the PM Year in Review in both 2016 and 2015. Matt is also a musician, recording engineer, and the author of a book about singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. He lives in Portland, OR, with his wife Joan and their turtle Sheldon.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introductions (5 minutes)

  • Lecture: Instructor introduction
  • Hands-on exercise: Consult your inbox and find the message you've gone the longest without responding to; explain what has made that particular message challenging and why you've been unable to answer it

The asymmetry of email (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: Identifying asymmetry
  • Hands-on exercise: Find an email you sent asking for feedback or asking a “quick question”; explain how long it took to send this email and how many people received it; determine the total cost of time it took for everybody on the thread to respond to that message

Three steps to managing email (30 minutes)

  • Lecture: Step one—recognizing that you have a problem; step two—be specific; step three—balance synchronous and asynchronous communication
  • Hands-on exercises: Track the amount of time you spend on asynchronous communication like email versus synchronous communication like meetings; create an email subject style guide

Wrap-up and Q&A (10 minutes)

  • Lecture: Steps to begin socializing these ideas with your colleagues; how to work with them to reflect on what is and isn't working and adjust course accordingly
  • Q&A