Timely Tips© Volume 2 Issue 7: July 2005 —Another E-mail Time Saver: Group Distribution Lists
It has been great seeing so many of you this busy July, during my programs at the MSAE ORG-PRO Conference, the Air Force Hospitality Program through MSU Exec Ed, the Plante & Moran staff program in East Lansing, my recent Ann Arbor Preview Program, and my visits to San Francisco and San Jose. Seeing all of you in all of these different places reminded me of one of the most basic time-saving e-mail tips that I like to use: the e-mail group list. I’m sure that for many of you, this month’s tip is more of a reminder than a new strategy, but a powerful time-saving reminder it is nonetheless. I’m sure that when used properly, it can save you several hours a year of time locating and typing in e-mail addresses.
Here’s how it works: Whenever I meet or begin working with new groups of people from different places/organizations/departments/teams, and I think that there is a likelihood or even a good possibility that I’ll be contacting them again by e-mail, I usually take the time to then create an e-mail “group distribution list”. With most e-mail programs, creating a new group list is quite easy. I send most of my outgoing mail via my Yahoo! Account, and creating a new group list there is quite easy:
1. I click on the “Addresses” tab in my Yahoo! Mail account.
2. Then, I click on the “Add Lists” smart button near the top of the screen
3. Then, I simply name the list, and select the people from my current contacts that will populate the new list
4. Once I have all of the contacts selected, then I simply click “Add List” and the new list is created and ready to use
(By the way, if I am adding new contacts into my contacts database, I always try to do this first before creating the new list – then they are there and ready to be selected for the new list I am creating.)
In MS Outlook, you use a fairly similar strategy:
1. Click on a “New” Mail Message smart button
2. Then, click on the “File” drop down menu, and then click on the “New” drop down menu. One of your options is “Distribution List”
3. Name the list, then, add the appropriate contacts from your contact list by hitting the “Select Members” smart button
4. Then, simply add in the members of your new distribution list from your Outlook contacts, and hit OK
5. Then, in the future, when you need to send an e-mail to this list, you simply click on the “To” button when creating the e-mail, and click on the bolded name of the proper distribution list
For the rest of forever (notwithstanding changes in the members of your e-mail list), you can quickly and easily send messages to this entire group of people. I’ve actually set up my distribution for this Timely Tips e-mail using the group lists strategy. Like I said earlier, it is a pretty simple and straightforward suggestion, but one likely to save you a little time every day or so (especially if you are a hardcore e-mailer), and at least a few hours of time every year. So think strategically about which contacts could be added to a group distribution e-mail list, and take moment or two sometime in the next few days to learn how to set up a few of these lists in your personal e-mail system. And of course, until next time, Stay Timely!