Get your head in the email gameLet\u2019s face it, as much as we might complain about it, email remains an integral part of business communication \u2013 a form many college graduates are ill-prepared for. Rather than let it trip you up at the beginning of your career, or become a productivity killer every work week, try a handful of these tips and tricks and you\u2019ll zipping through your inbox in no time at all while minimizing electronic faux pas?Mind the forwarded email Image by ThinkstockEmail messages are a wonderful work tool when it comes to communicating the content of prior discussions, or to get a new team member quickly up to speed on previously discussed and agreed-on points. Always check before forwarding a lengthy email thread to a subordinate or a vendor, though, as it may inadvertently contain confidential information or remarks that may be best kept to the original recipients. With this in mind, making a quick snip of extraneous information may be a good habit to develop.The power of the out-of-office messageImage by ThinkstockGoing to be out of town on a business trip (with \u201climited access to email,\u201d wink-wink, nudge-nudge) over the next few days, or legitimately sick and stuck at home? Don\u2019t underestimate the power of a concisely written out-of-office message to save you from having to explain your absence for the umpteenth time, or even from the undeserved ire of clients or colleagues. Remember to include information about when you\u2019ll be back in action, as well as relevant contact information to colleagues or an assistant who will be able to assist with urgent queries.When (attachment) size mattersImage by ThinkstockWhile larger attachment allotment these days mean that large files of up to 25MB can be sent via Gmail or Office 365, it\u2019s generally considered bad form \u2013 and a common rookie mistake \u2013 to send files of more than a few megabytes via email. Images can be easily resized on the PC using a free app like IrfanView; alternatively, you can also upload large file attachments to an online cloud service such as Dropbox or Google Drive and email a link instead.Number your points in longer emailsImage by ThinkstockIf you\u2019re writing a longer email with multiple points of discussion, or instructions, consider numbering your individual points so as to make it easier for a reader to follow \u2013 and to respond if desired. It\u2019ll go a long way towards eliminating the chance of time-wasting misunderstandings. Bulleted lists work well, too.Maximize your subject linesImage by ThinkstockThe subject line is an important part of an email message that\u2019s often overlooked. For one, having the appropriate subject line can serve to draw the right level of attention to the email, whether it\u2019s an information-only message or if a response is required, not to mention the level of urgency. Additionally, a concise subject line also makes it much easier to sort through or find emails later. When forwarding or replying to an email, consider modifying the subject line if it would better reflect the nature of the response.File all emails awayImage by ThinkstockOne consequence of an inundated inbox is that critical emails can get lost in the flood of messages you get every day. It\u2019s only natural to leave emails of even marginal importance in your inbox for fear of overlooking something that requires action, or at least a response. Consider moving all email messages that don\u2019t require you to do something into a separate folder where they can be easily found if you need to go digging. Forget about creating sub-folders though; these kinds of emails can always be found using your email program\u2019s search features, which these days are fast, accurate and efficient.Moving beyond emailImage by ThinkstockA common trap of novice email users is to use their inbox as a giant \u201cto do\u201d list. In addition to being highly inefficient, though, this isn\u2019t what the inbox was originated created for. Fortunately, tools exist \u2013 such as Trello \u2013 that let you easily convert email messages into \u201ctasks\u201d to be addressed at a later date by simply forwarding them to a customized email address. Popular email programs, such as Outlook, also allow you to convert emails to to-do items on a task list, complete with reminders and priority flags.Don\u2019t take too long to respondImage by ThinkstockIt\u2019s important to remember that, in the office, at least, email is very much a work communication and productivity tool. As such, it makes sense to avoid letting important messages languish in your inbox for too long. Though there are no hard and fast rules, it\u2019s probably a good idea to respond within three working days or less; replying any later risks sending a signal to the recipient that either they, or the issue being discussed, is low priority.Consider not checking your email in the morningImage by ThinkstockWhile it\u2019s important to not take too long to reply to critical emails, it\u2019s also easy to fall into the trap of spending too much time working through your inbox \u2013 and getting little actual work done. Given that the morning is when most of us perform at our peak, one trick is to dive straight into non-email work the moment we step into the office, and not check email for a couple hours. Another strategy is to set aside blocks of time throughout the day specifically to read and respond to emails.Know when to use the phone Image by ThinkstockFor all the power of email as a business tool, there are times when a quick phone call can be more effective than never-ending email threads. For instance, when a situation becomes too complicated to explain over email, or you\u2019re discussing contentious or urgent matters, just pick up the phone and give your furiously tapping fingers a rest.Unsubscribe from mailing listsImage by ThinkstockPart of the trick when it comes to dealing with information overload is to consciously reduce the number of emails that end up cluttering your inbox. A quick and easy strategy here is to unsubscribe from news and promotional mailing lists that you no longer have an interest in. Unsubscribing is typically a one or two-click process and prominently featured at the top or bottom of an email message \u2013 and you can always add the email address to the spam list if unsubscribing doesn\u2019t work.