How do miscommunications happen? Why do you find that you have to repeat yourself? Maybe it has something to do with how you write your email.
Do everyone a favor and follow these 5 email tips.
- Plan Out Your Email This commonly happens with replies. Don’t just write a stream of conscious thought in your reply. Read the whole email first and THEN write your reply.
- Hit the enter/return key Toss out your high-school’s requirement of 4-5 sentences per paragraph. That’s a good guideline for a book report, but may not be when explaining a new company policy or commenting on sales performance. If your point can be made in one sentence, that’s all you need. One big block of text indicates that your email is going to take a lot of time to read, thus setting a reply off later in the day. Even if it’s a dense email you can make it easier to read and easier to take action upon by using more paragraphs. Whitespace is your friend.
- Don’t be so verbose Goes hand in hand with #2. It’ll also let you toss out another thing that high school probably taught you; word count requirements. Don’t try to meet a quota on words. Aim to express yourself as efficiently as possible. You’ll get more done.
- Reply in a reply, not in the body of what you were written That’s what replies are for. Everytime I get a reply with “See below” I feel like writing a reply with the same thing; “See Below” with my comments after they’re comments that are after the original email. This body-reply solution just makes readers have to data mine to figure out what you’re talking about and increases the likelihood of something being misinterpreted. Really, you’re better off just making yourself clear in your own body text with a little quote from the original email, if anything.
- Keep your subject consistent with your topic Resist the urge to reply to an existing email that has nothing to do with what you’re writing about. You’ll break your email client’s search and subject threading functionality. Nothing sucks more than endlessly searching for next week’s meeting time and finding them under a subject called “I Need You To Come In On Saturday.”
Would you like to contribute your email tips/pet peeves? Leave a comment.