Write Emails that Don’t Drive People Crazy
Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
Have you noticed that email volume is reaching crisis proportions? The ease of email causes people to be careless about how they use it. Apparently businesses lose billions of dollars a year due to loss of productivity from employees dealing with unnecessary emails. I think many of us are just a few rambling emails away from a complete nervous breakdown. But never fear… a 7-step list to the rescue!
7 Tips for Emails that Work
1. Keep it brief.
Aim for 3 sentences. Yes, THREE. Otherwise, keep your emails as succinct as possible. If you have something in-depth that will take several paragraphs, consider a phone or Skype conversation. You know, talking. Like they used to do in the old days.
2. Get to the point.
Make it easy for the recipient to get the gist of your message right away. Don’t ramble.
3. Make questions and action points stand out.
DON’T bury your questions throughout the email in the middle of paragraphs! If there is action needed, or a question that needs an answer, make it VERY obvious. For example, you might want to number them and put them at the end of your email.
4. Use EOM.
This is a favorite – I put “EOM” at the end of the subject line to indicate “End of Message.” That is, the entire message is in the subject line. So in responding to an email requesting a phone call, my subject line might say, “I’ll call you Tues 3/6 at 4pm eastern — EOM.” The recipient doesn’t even need to open the email, they’ve got all the info they need.
5. Use a relevant and specific subject line.
Try NOT to use a generic subject line, such as “Thought you might want to know…” The subject line is for… wait for it… the actual subject of your email. Try to avoid using “Quick Question” as your subject line.
6. Change the subject line when necessary.
If you’re emailing back and forth with someone, and the topic changes mid-conversation, change the subject line! This is especially for those of you who never actually start a new email stream, but whenever you want to email someone, you simply grab the last email from them and hit “Reply.” Change the subject line, please.
7. Remember that every time you send an email, somewhere a fairy dies.
Well, maybe not. But it should at least make us think twice about it!
→ Bonus: What about “thank you” emails?
Most of us are trying to avoid too many unnecessary emails, yet the courtesy of telling somebody “thank you” is a very good thing, and we don’t need to lose all our manners in this rush-rush digital world. If you want to send a Thank You email, go for it.
What are your pet peeves about email? Do you have ideas for making it more effective?
“Every time you send an email, somewhere a fairy dies.” Email tips from @RachelleGardner. Click to Tweet.
“Write emails that don’t drive people crazy.” Tips from @RachelleGardner. Click to Tweet.
“Keep it brief. Use a relevant subject line. Use EOM.” Email tips from @RachelleGardner. Click to Tweet.