Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had a set of rules to follow when writing an email? That way we could waste less time reading, sending back-and-forth emails trying to understand what’s being said and more time actually getting things done?
Well your wish has come true! Here are some tips for writing a good email so you don’t become… you know, that person. Or maybe you’re just wanting to brush up on your email-writing skills! Which is cool too.
- Pay attention to your subject line
- Read and read again
- Focus on the purpose
- Organise your email
- Don’t be an angrybird
Pay attention to your subject line
The subject line of an email usually attracts or deters someone from opening it, so it’s almost as important as the contents of the email itself.
To write an effective subject line we want to get the receiver thinking about their response even before they’ve opened the email.
One way of doing this is to make sure that you are describing the content of the email; if it’s a simple question then write that in the subject, or if it’s regarding a previous discussion write the topic of discussion.
If it’s urgent, instead of writing ‘IMPORTANT’ try writing why it’s so important. For example ‘At 4pm I’m throwing out all the food’ – that’s sure to get their attention!
Read and read again
It reflects badly on you when someone receives an email littered with basic grammatical or spelling mistakes.
Even worse, it could distort their understanding of your email, causing both parties to waste time or exert more effort than was necessary in the first place.
If you’re unsure about an email, try using something like Grammarly or better yet, get someone to proofread it before you hit ‘send’.
Focus on the purpose
Before you start writing your email it’s best to ask yourself “what is the purpose of this email?”.
This ensures you keep your email clean, direct and avoids off-topic fluff. It also serves as a checking point to ensure that you have thoroughly responded to all questions you may have received in the previous email.
Organise your email
More often than not, people jump the gun to reply before they’ve even finished reading your email, so how you organise your email could be key in making sure you are communicating effectively.
For example, if your email is quite complex, try breaking it down into dot points so that it draws the reader’s attention.
Also, organising content into related paragraphs can also make emails look less intimidating and overall easier for the reader to consume.
Don’t be an angry bird
If you find yourself thrashing your keyboard in a fit of anger it’s probably best to step away from your desk and cool off before you hit ‘send’.
Giving yourself space can help you think more clearly, and also compose an email that is more focused, concise and most importantly, less anger-fueled.
We may think of emails as private, but really anyone can show or forward your email, so it’s really important to ask yourself “if everyone saw this email, what would they think of me?”.