Would You Read Your Own Emails?

Email WritingThere will come a point in your life where you will have to write a lot of emails for work.  If you’re already there, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Email writing is a pedestrian task that most of us do without giving it much thought.

Although email writing itself isn’t exactly a hard task, knowing how to engage your audience in the short amount of time they have to read your email is.  Since most email readers find it a chore to stay on top of their in-boxes [Email At Work - Pew Research], the need to write purposeful and pithy emails become even more important.

Think Purpose
Why are you emailing this person in the first place?  Let the reader know what you want to tell them, and give them a good reason to read your email.  Within the first 2-3 lines of your email, you should be able to convey the heart of your message. After that, it would be up to the reader to see if they need any additional information from you.

Think Succinct
Keep your emails short and to the point.  No one has time to read a novel in the middle of their workday, nor do they want to look at the details of your data and analysis.

If your email is data oriented, add an executive summary of your findings to the top of your email.  You can also link and/or attach your analysis and supporting data file to the email.  For the most part, there is no need to keep it in the body.  Use discretion.

Executive summaries and bullet points are helpful, but not required.
Utilize spacing and avoid clutter at all cost.

Think Audience
To talk is one thing, but to communicate is another.  When addressing your reader, use the proper vernacular and vocabularies.  Avoid industry jargon with people outside your industry.  This does not mean that you have to dumb down your email.  It simply means that you will need to know how to communicate differently.

Why Is This Important To You?
Time is precious. As you move up in the ranks, your time becomes more valuable.  Improving email skills will not only save your reader’s time, but your own time as well.  Ideally, you should be able to quickly gather and structure your thoughts, send out informative emails, and move on to your next important task without having to put a dent into your busy workday.

Now for a comic relief.
You Do Not Understand Email

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