How to Write Effective Emails
by OMG at Work
Almost everyone has sent hundreds or even thousands of emails in both their personal and professional lives. Most people have received a lot more. But how many of your emails are actually read and taken seriously? Whether that be in business, your personal life or for some other reason you had to send an email, knowing how to write effective emails is an incredibly important skill to master, no matter why you are sending them.
Receiving emails can be annoying to some people. When looking through your inbox, you probably wonder why most of the messages weren’t sent straight to your spam folder. Those emails are junk, but many of them are really just emails that weren’t written effectively. While it’s find for this to be a problem for other people’s emails, you definitely don’t want anyone to be thinking this about your own.
Here are some tips on writing effective emails:
Don’t Over-Use Email
If you are sending irrelevant emails to people often, they are a lot less likely to open up your more important ones. So it’s important to use email correctly. This is the â€œBoy who Cried Wolfâ€ scenario. If there’s something you really don’t have to email to someone about, if you can squeeze it into another message, or even convey the message in person, it’s usually better to do just that. If you are sending someone 5 or 6 emails a day as opposed to 2 or 3, it’s much more likely they may overlook an important one.
Know & Get to the Point of Your Email
When sending effective emails, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you are trying to get across or accomplish. Even when you are sending personal messages, getting to the poiont is important. Know what you want to happen and build your whole message around that main idea. When people feel you are respectful of their time, they will be more likely to pay more attention and act on your emails.
Effective Use the Subject Line
One of the most important parts of any effective email is the subject line. It needs to catch people’s attention, and needs to make them interested in what your message says. You want for your subject line to be similar to a newspaper headline. It needs to grab the reader’s attention and it needs to provide a summary for the content of the message. If the subject line is not effective, then there is a good chance that your email won’t even be opened.
While you don’t want your subject line to be as long as the actual message, make it specific. Especially if you are emailing someone who you know gets a lot of emails. Another good tip is to not recycle email subjects. If the email thread changes into a different topic, update the subject line to reflect that. It’s extremely annoying for people to search for a thread by keywords when the subject line is about something completely different.
Content of Your Messages
In general, you want the content of your messages to be short, sweet and to the point. When writing emails for business, think of it as a business letter. Keep language professional and get straight to the point. You don’t want any run-on sentences and don’t be afraid to use a few smaller paragraphs or even lists. This helps the reader scan for important keywords and phrases.
You want the content to be directly related to the message you are trying to convey. If you are confusing, then people will not have any clue as to what you want them to do. Don’t include any unnecessary information and make sure to provide people with all the information they need.
Make Sure Your Tone is Appropriate
Even though it would be easier to send a shorter, harsher email, there is a good chance it will rub people the wrong way. Especially if you are sending an email a superior. Re-read your email and think about the overall tone. Reading words on a screen do not reflect any emotion and you want to be clear about the intention, and not sending the wrong message. If you know the person you are emailing, then you want your tone to match that person.
Everyone has sent a text message to a friend in which a word or two was spelled incorrectly. This could sometimes be embarassing. But doing that to your boss/manager or someone else you know on a professional level is completely embarrassing and unprofessional. Even in the hectic atmosphere of the workplace, make sure to always proofread your emails once or twice. Also check for good grammar, making sure the email is something you would open up.
No matter where you are in your career, there are not many tools used more often that electronic mail. There are few skills more important than knowing how to send effective emails. People will take you more seriously, and will have a better understanding of communicating your thoughts to them after mastering this skill. So the next time you find yourself sending an email, try to follow these tips and be confident that when you hit that SEND button, people will take you more seriously and you will be getting results you were intending.
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