Imagine this situation (and yes it has happened to me):
You wake up at 5 am to get your day started. After your morning rituals, you head to your laptop and start plugging away at creating content for 2 hours.
After a productive content creation session, you head to work and spend all day working with students. Then, after a long day of work, you come home to spend time with your family. Your little son greets you at the door jumping up and down for you to pick him up.
You're exhausted, but you pick him up and you both experience overwhelming joy. You spend 2 hours with your family just hanging out.
After that, you go back to your laptop to get some more work done at the end of the night. You're tired, but you want to finish creating something that your audience is going to LOVE.
Then, you check your email and there an email from someone almost cursing you out because they feel like you aren't doing enough to help them (btw, you don't know this person).
My question for you is this – do you do the “Christian thing” and politely respond to them? My answer is this – Yes, well most of the time. BUT, there are some times when I get frustrated and respond in ways that don't necessarily reflect my character.
Yes, it's true – I'm not perfect! Sue me 😉
Then I realized something – I can create canned responses to be able to have a consistent message, regardless of what my “emotional state” is.
Ok, this is not the only situation that Canned messages are helpful for, but it's a vivid example that I believe illustrates the point that by having pre-typed message that puts your best foot forward, you can not only save time responding to email, but you can also provide a ton of value to most of your emails by going into a level of detail that your email recipients might not expect.
Creating canned responses in Gmail
If you aren't using gmail – Wait! You're not using gmail? I don't understand. USE GMAIL!
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I want to show you a very EASY way to create canned responses in Gmail.
You can do this by using a Gmail add-on called, you guessed it, “Canned responses”. It was created by a guy named Chad P and is extremely helpful. Here's how you make it work.
Installing Canned Responses
First, you click on the little gear icon in your gmail inbox. It's located to the right of the screen once you're logged in, as shown below.
Then, you select “Settings”
This will take you to your gmail settings. On that screen, select the “Labs” tab.
Now, you're in the experimental area within Gmail where you can add a number of interesting little features to gmail. There's a warning there letting you know that you're using these features at your own risk – I've NEVER had an issue using them.
The next step is to search for the “Canned Responses” lab and enable it as shown below.
Once you've enabled it, you're good to go.
Creating your canned responses
It's time to start creating your canned responses. This is also very simple. Go ahead an compose an email.
Give the email a subject and add the content you wish to add to that canned response.
Once the content is added, do the following 3 things:
Step 1: Click on the disclosure triangle at the bottom right of the window
Step 2: Select “Canned Responses”
Step 3: Click on “New canned response”
A window will now pop up asking you to name your canned response. It will default to the subject that you added. However you can change this if you'd like. Then click on “OK”.
Your canned response is now saved.
Using your canned responses
This is the beautiful part. Someone sends you an email and you think to yourself – “I have the perfect canned response for that person”.
In your reply window, click on the disclosure triangle, go to “Canned responses” and select the appropriate canned response.
Voila – you are good to go. I like to add in the name of the person at the beginning to personalize it a bit.
Instead of taking 5 minutes to craft a careful response, you did it in 5 seconds and your response is top notch.
Will you be using canned responses in the future? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.