Thanks to Shakisha, I recently learned a powerful new term. It’s, “stalking your email.”

She used it in a conversation we were having to describe what she had been doing while waiting for a reply from me, but then later the same day, I serendipitously got this question from Mya that used the same term. I love when that happens, don’t you?

Mya asked:

I want to have Moxie standards for my business, and I have a conflict. I’ve seen you write about over-delivering, which I want to do. And I’ve seen people say that for the sake of productivity I should only check/reply to email 2x each day. If the main way I communicate with clients is by email, how do I over-deliver when there’s such a lag in dealing with email. Shouldn’t I be almost stalking my email and ready to reply, so my clients feel I’m on top of my work for them? And, as a follow-up to that, the times that I’ve written to you, you seem to always answer quickly. Do you stalk your email or do you have set times you pay attention to it?

Boy, Mya, I love those questions!!

Let’s start with over-delivering. In the simplest terms, over-delivering for your clients would be doing anything above and beyond what was expected. So the first thing to do is look at what they believe about how responsive you’ll be. What’s your standard for that? As a baseline, it should be easily doable for you. So, you might say that the standard is that you’ll respond (not the same as getting the work completed!) to every email by the end of the next business day. If that’s the standard, and you respond to email by the end of the next business day, you’ve kept your word. If you respond anytime the next day, but before the end of it, you’ve over-delivered. Widen the gap between when they know they can expect it, and the time they sent it, and you’ve gone above and beyond (meaning, the faster you respond, the bigger the “wow” of the over-delivering will be). See the difference?

Now, there can be a client-facing standard, and then your personal standard about that. In our example, the client-facing standard is that you’ll respond by the end of the next biz day. But if you want to overdeliver, maybe your personal standard about that is that you always aim to reply by the end of the same business day, or, at the latest, first thing on the next business day. You still have the leeway to respond by the end of that second day, if you need it, but as a general rule, you’ll always over-deliver, and you can do it without having to stalk your email.

Make sense?

Expand What Over-delivering Means to You in Order to More Easily Make it Happen (1)

As for me, I think the whole world now knows that I calendar everything. And probably that I am super-good at shifting from one thing to another—meaning, I don’t have to chunk my day to be productive. About email, that means that I don’t have to have a couple of set times to do it—I can do it many times during the day, as it fits with the rest of my schedule.

To give you a snapshot of how this rolls, my day usually starts with an email run; when my schedule requires me to do it later, it happens mid-morning. I do every bit as much of it as I can, then. After that, I tend to check email in between appointments as it fits (I always leave 15 minutes between my appointments, but email isn’t the only thing I do during the breaks). Or while waiting on hold. Or while standing in a line if I’m out running business errands. At my whim, really. And I’m good at blowing through most things quickly. So I’m guessing that’s why it seems to you that I’ve been stalking my email, when, in reality, your email has probably arrived at just the perfect time.

Also, everyone who is in any sort of 1:1 ongoing professional relationship with me knows that because I coach on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, they’re likely to hear from me more sporadically, but they will hear back from me on Thursday at my earliest opportunity.

In my case, I try to over-deliver by either giving them what they asked for faster than they expected to get it, or by getting it to them as soon as I can, but making it extra-special good—worth waiting for.

I mention those two things to suggest that you expand your thinking about what over-delivering might be for you. It’s not necessarily time-related. :)

Bottom line: you can over-deliver without stalking your email. Just create your forward-facing standard with enough breathing room for you so that you can make it happen. – See more at: