How To Be Excellent At Writing Effective Emails
Getting people to willingly read your emails is not an easy task – badly written emails create tension, confusion, or other negative consequences for the vast majority of recipients. On average we receive around 80m emails each working day so how do you get your email to stand out from the crowd, make sure it is read and, most importantly, acted upon?
The following pointers will help you achieve this:
Don’t Over communicate by Email
Why not go and speak to the other person if you can or telephone so that there is a strong level of personal engagement in the process. Is that email actually needed? This is especially important if you are delivering bad news where a face-to-face approach is far better and much more polite.
Always remember that email is NOT a secure communication medium.
Use the Subject Line very carefully
The subject line should grab the attention of the reader quickly and effectively so that they know immediately what the email is about. They then will decide whether or not to read it – a key factor before anything else happens!
A blank subject line is more likely to be overlooked or rejected as “spam,” so always use a few well-chosen words to tell the recipient what the email is about.
You may want to include the date in the subject line if your message is one of a regular series of emails, such as a weekly project report. For a message that needs a response, you might also want to include a call to action, such as “Please reply by November 7.”
If you have a very short message to convey, and you can fit the whole thing into the subject line, use “EOM” (End of Message) to let recipients know that they don’t need to open the email to get all the information that they need.
Keep things precise and quick!
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 have a number of topics to communicate about it is probably best to send a series of emails on each subject, rather than rolling them all into one big message where key issues will be lost.
Never think of an email as being less formal than traditional letters. Whatever the content and context your emails reflect upon your own level of professionalism and skill. There is always the possibility that recipients will print them and share your communication with others so avoid loose grammar and over-familiarity at all costs!
Check the Tone
Make sure that the way your email is written is appropriate and courteous: your choice of words, sentence length, punctuation, and use of capital letters can easily be misinterpreted without the visual and auditory cues that you get from a verbal, face-to-face conversation.
Think about how your email “feels” emotionally. If your intentions or emotions could be misunderstood, find a less ambiguous way to phrase your words.
ALWAYS proofread before sending!
Always take a moment to review your email for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes before you send your email. Remember that 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.
Make sure that you are brief and to the point: people are more likely to read short, concise emails than long, rambling ones and this will also help your email stand out from the crowd and increase the likelihood of it being read!
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