Writing The Perfect Email
Getting People to Read and Act on Your Messages
We all get bombarded by email. Just think how many emails you get each day – take a week off on annual leave and see how many you get then. Amazing!
Email frequently creates tension, confusion and a wide range of other negative emotions. It is a cold medium, is frequently misinterpreted and has few real fans.
So how can you make your email communication work better, get better results and be a more effective way of getting your message across?
Perhaps it is time to look at the following pointers and use them to craft your emails.
- Don’t Over-communicate by Email
One of the biggest sources of stress at work is the sheer volume of emails that people receive. So, before you begin writing an email, ask yourself: “Is this really necessary?” why not revert to the god, old-fashioned idea of actually telephoning someone or even going over to talk to them. How many people in your Office email each other rather than talking to them?
Also bar in mind that email is not secure and you will never stop someone forwarding on your message. Just consider all of the viral emails that are flying around – do you want your messages to be one of those, especially if the content is less than polite or pleasant?
- Write effective subject lines
A newspaper headline has two functions: it grabs your attention, and it summarises the article, so that you can decide whether to read it or not. The subject line of your email message should do the same thing.
A blank subject line says your message is worthless – simple as. It will be overlooked or rejected because people have more important things to do rather than second-guess why you are writing to them.
Keep it brief – Meeting to discuss Marketing Strategy 10.00 in Room 5 is fine. It lets the recipients know why you are writing and is a prompt for action. If the message is short put it all in the Subject line – really simple and effective!
- Be Brief
Emails, like traditional business letters, need to be clear and concise. Keep your sentences short and to the point. The body of the email should be direct and informative, and it should contain all pertinent information.
If you want some action to come as a result of the recipient reading the email – make it plain that this is the case!
- Use Good Manners
Your email must reflect you and the way in which you deal with people. Be professional, courteous and polite at all times and spend time crafting your message to get the maximum response in the nicest way possible.
People like people who respect them and use appropriate language. You r emails should clearly show your values. Also remember people may print your message or forward it on hence the need to get it right first time!
- Check the Tone
As we never see the response our emails get when they are opened (unlike actually chatting to someone where you can read their body language and see their reactions, good or bad), it is not immediately apparent that our message has been either understood or misinterpreted.
Your choice of words, sentence length, punctuation, and use of capital letters can create mayhem and leave the recipient lost for words. Expect an unexpected reaction in return.
Think about how your email “feels” emotionally. If your intentions or emotions could be misunderstood, find a less ambiguous way to phrase your words.
Finally, before you hit “send,” take a moment to review your email for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. Your email messages are as much a part of your professional image as the clothes you wear, so it looks bad to send out a message that contains typos.
As you proofread, pay careful attention to the length of your email. People are more likely to read short, concise emails than long, rambling ones, so make sure that your emails are as short as possible, without excluding necessary information.
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