How To Write Better Emails

Do You Need To Send An Email

Email Etiquette Tips – How to Write Better Emails at Work

The average office worker receives around 121 emails every day, and they send about 40 per day. And the average number of emails sitting in their inbox is… 200!

To say your client is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of email is an understatement.

In fact, we’re all suffering from email fatigue.

So before your put your finger on the keyboard, ask yourself, “Should this even be an email?”

It might be better to pick up the phone and talk. Conversations are most suited to:

  • Provide feedback

That’s because you convey complex information more efficiently and quickly intercept misunderstandings before they become entrenched.

How To Write Better Emails As A Leader

    We live in an attention economy, where the bounds of our productivity and relationships are no longer limited by our access to information, but rather by our ability to sort the relevant from the irrelevant, suggests Dr Charles Chaffin, author of Numb: How the Information Age Dulls Our Senses and How We Can Get them Back. He concludes that advertisers, co-workers, and potential mates are all vying for our attention, knowing that our wallets and efforts only come after gaining our attention. But while the information age brings infinite choice, whether shopping, food delivery, or dating, we can become paralyzed by too much choice, leading to indecision – causing us to check social media or work email far too often, says Chaffin.

    Consequently, emails have become the first line of defense we need to crack to secure face-time with people. If weve started a new job remotely, its our first point of contact with our new teams. And in the absence of real-life meetings, were often judged solely on the content of our emails by clients, colleagues, and stakeholders. Were playing a high-stakes game over email. And yet, so many emails fail to hit the mark. Too dry, too dull, too waffly. The list goes on. Writing emails that persuade and influence is a crucial skill we now need to master to thrive in a hybrid working world. The fact is, this is not an easy skill to master as emails are asynchronous by their design.

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    Write emails with empathy

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    Explain Benefits In Your Email

    Many business professionals don’t understand the differencebetween features and benefits. Features describe what your product does. Abenefit explains how a feature helps your reader.

    Don’t assume that your email reader already knows whysomething is important to them. Make sure your email explains how your readerbenefits.

    Let’s upgrade the list of software features we createdearlier and include the customer benefits of each. The list now looks likethis:

    1. Use the software anywhere. Integrates with a smartphone or tablet.2. Plenty of space to save everything you need. Increased cloud-based storage.3. Fill out forms quickly. Auto-fill for common phrases.4. Reduce errors in foreign words. In-software spell check now includes commonforeign phrases.

    The list now shows how each feature upgrade helps yourreader. They’re much more likely to be interested in an email that clearlyexplains the benefits.

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    Reread/rethink Before Hitting Send

    Check for spelling and punctuation errors before you hit send. If you find an error in an email for a job application, fix it, then reread again before you hit send. But also reread for content. If your email is long, think about ways to make it more concise. And if your email is controversial or was written in anger, hit save not send. Come back to it a few hours or a day later and see if you still want to send it.

    This may sound like a lot to do before sending an email, but if you are sending effective emails and are more efficiently organizing your email, you will find you actually have more time not less.

      Reduce Mistakes And Other Signs Of Sloppiness With Templates

      5 Simple Ways to Write Better Emails

      No matter the kind of position you have, there are probably some types of emails you repeatedly send throughout a workweek. You might depend on emails to confirm you received items, check the status of a to-do item a colleague is tackling or remind someone of an upcoming appointment. Those are all instances where its possibly helpful to use templates to take care of those repeated communications.

      Stock replies also work well for diffusing situations filled with tension or other intense emotions. Research warns against sending emails if youre angry.

      Thats because the immediate nature of email communications may encourage you to type things in the heat of the moment you would never utter if standing face to face with a person. Also, gauging sentiment via email is difficult, and misunderstandings could be dangerous if people ruminate too much about why your tone sounded harsh, or you used language perceived as demeaning.

      Plus, when you type similar responses repeatedly, you may fall into an autopilot mode that makes you less likely to proofread content before sending it. Templates dont eliminate errors, but they reduce them. Competence and consistency are two characteristics templates help facilitate, and they arguably belong on a list of traits often seen in promotion-worthy employees.

      Recommended Reading: How Do I Recover Deleted Emails From Gmail

      Use An Appropriate Level Of Formality

      “Once you know who you’re writing to, you can figure out the level of formality needed to really resonate with that person. You need to choose your words carefully and encapsulate this in the first two sentences of the email if you don’t achieve this effectively, the recipient will immediately stop reading.”

      Types Of Email In The Workplace

      There are two primary types of email in the workplace:

    • Request-and-Reply EmailsMost emails in the workplace fall into this category. Request emails usually expect a reply. This kind of email could ask questions, specify tasks people need to complete, or ask colleagues to acknowledge or comment on policies, meetings, or projects. A sample request-and-reply email can be found near the end of this page.
    • Confirmation EmailsThis kind of email creates a permanent, of a conversation that has taken place. For example, if you and a colleague discussed collaborating on a project over lunch, you might send them an email with the details of that conversation. This gives you both a record of the conversation and allows for the conversation to continue, if needed.
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      Break Up Long Paragraphs

      Long paragraphs are difficult for the eye to scan, and they can look overwhelming. Keeping your paragraphs super short keeps the reader moving through the content of your email.

      So instead of this

      You are presented with two articles: one has longer paragraphs, the other has shorter paragraphs. Which one will you choose? If youre the average type of guy or gal, you will surely go for the one with shorter paragraphs. This is the main reason that most newspapers use shorter paragraphs: there is a higher chance that readers will finish article, from first to last paragraph. Pauline Cabrera

      Break up your paragraphs, like this

      You are presented with two articles: one has longer paragraphs, the other has shorter paragraphs. Which one will you choose?

      If youre the average type of guy or gal, you will surely go for the one with shorter paragraphs.

      This is the main reason that most newspapers use shorter paragraphs: there is a higher chance that readers will finish article, from first to last paragraph.

      Use Specific Dates Instead Of Yesterday Tomorrow Etc

      8 Email Etiquette Tips – How to Write Better Emails at Work

      The moment you send an email is not the moment that it will be read by its recipients. Avoid using only temporal adverbs/nouns like yesterday, today, tomorrow, two hours ago etc but include also the specific dates/times otherwise they might be misunderstood or require from recipients to check the emails sent date/time to calculate the actual time.

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      Keep Your Colleagues Spirits Up With Humanity And Compliments

      The earlier reference to an inbox as a to-do list of tasks others give you underscores why people sometimes dread looking at emails. Decades ago, people got excited when they opened their mailboxes and found messages that didnt fall into the categories of bills or junk mail.

      However, its safe to say people dont feel similarly upbeat when clicking into inboxes to see the latest material. When you commit to writing better emails, try to do so by showing your human side. Taking that approach reduces the possibility of people feeling dread whenever they click on your emails because they know you always ask for things without realizing those individuals are probably juggling many other obligations, too.

      For example, maybe you need to write an email to ask something of someone who just got over a nasty case of the flu. Keeping your messages brief is preferable, but not when it makes you come across as more like a request-asking robot than a person. So, you could start by saying, I hope youre feeling better and getting back into the swing of things. Having had the flu myself last winter, I remember how an unexpected illness throws plans off track.

      Besides showing your human side, dont forget to give credit where its due. Positive feedback acts as a motivator and lets people know theyre doing well. So, when applicable, give compliments instead of just asking for things.

      Dont Get Too Personal

      Emails are for facts, not feelings, says Egan. Due to the lack of voice inflection and body language in digital correspondence, certain sentimentshow you feel about a coworker, what you thought of your neighbors partycan easily be misinterpreted. If you want to bring up a sensitive issue, give them a call instead.

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      Tip : Put Your Specific Action Request In The First Line

      A busy exec wants to touch an email once and take action: delete, respond or forward for action.

      I want to know what you’re looking for in the first sentence.

      Don’t bury the lede. Don’t give me three paragraphs of contextthis can come after.

      Start with the action/request, and then explain if you need to.

      This can be as simple as “FYI:” or “Have time for a 10 min phone call?” or “Can you sign the attached document?”

      Then, and this is REALLY IMPORTANT, be specific in your request

      Instead of saying, “Can you meet sometime next week?” say, “Can you meet Wed, Sept 10 in XYZ location between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. PST?”

      Or, you can say, “I’m available to meet at these three time windows. My EA is copied. What works?”

      This will save you about five emails back and forth figuring out logistics and a lot of unnecessary clutter to your inbox.

      Surefire Tricks To Help You Write Emails That Will Get Replies

      Writing emails is something you do on a daily basis. But ...
      • Carlos Burges Ruiz de Gopegui manages content on LinkedIn Learning.
      • A course he posted course gives just five simple steps to get people to respond to your emails.
      • His course is now one of the most viewed on LinkedIn Learning.

      In the world of work, it’s essential to establish contacts but time is more precious than ever: it’s harder to come by people willing to give it freely to a stranger.

      The course “How to contact people and get a response” is a highly viewed piece of content in the LinkedIn Learning section, perhaps, because it highlights how best to reach out to new contacts and crucially, how to get a response.

      Content Manager for LinkedIn Learning Spain Carlos Burges Ruiz de Gopegui told Insider: “The feedback has been incredible since the course was published. People write to me about it every day and, funnily enough, they use all those techniques and strategies covered in my course.”

      He said the strategies listed are aimed at everyone, despite their strong commercial tone.

      “Everyone can benefit from this information to improve their techniques and above all, communication tactics, as that’s what the course is about,” he said. “Strategies that produce results and acknowledging that every scenario in communication is different.”

      Burges offers these five tips for contacting people and responding to all those who are tired of unidirectional or unproductive communication through social networks, email, forums, and telephone.

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      Overuse Of Exclamation Points

      Enthusiasm is great. But in certain contexts, the overuse of exclamation points can do more harm than good. This is especially true if youre forging a new relationship or contacting someone outside of your company. You are, after all, a representative of your work when you use a company email address. But people love exclamation points, and theyre still something that many people rely on to convey a positive tone.

      For example, here are the most common sentences and words people use with exclamation points in emails:

      What to do instead: After youve written your draft, do a quick search for exclamation points and use your judgment to determine which to keep based on your relationship with the recipient. As a general rule, try to keep it to one or two per email with colleagues.

      Were feeling grateful today.

      Grammarly

      Keep Messages Clear And Brief

      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. See our article on writing skills for guidance on communicating clearly in writing.

      Unlike traditional letters, however, it costs no more to send several emails than it does to send just one. So, if you need to communicate with someone about a number of different topics, consider writing a separate email for each one. This makes your message clearer, and it allows your correspondent to reply to one topic at a time.

      Bad Example

      Subject: Revisions For Sales Report

      Hi Jackie,

      Thanks for sending that report last week. I read it yesterday, and I feel that Chapter 2 needs more specific information about our sales figures.

      I also felt that the tone could be more formal.

      Could you amend it with these comments in mind?

      Thanks for your hard work on this!

      Monica

      It’s important to find balance here. You don’t want to bombard someone with emails, and it makes sense to combine several, related, points into one email. When this happens, keep things simple with numbered paragraphs or bullet points, and consider “chunking” information into small, well-organized units to make it easier to digest.

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      Getting People To Read And Act On Your Messages

      Email has long been a core tool for business communications, but a 2013 survey by Sendmail, Inc., found that it has caused tension, confusion, or other negative consequences for 64 percent of working professionals.

      So, how can you avoid your emails doing this? And how can you write emails that get the results you want? In this article and video, we look at strategies you can use to ensure that your use of email is clear, effective and successful.

      to view a transcript of this video.

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