Written By: Brendan Barker
Anything you write in an email can be retained for future reference, forwarded on to others, and used as a record of communication.
Therefore, it is critical you become aware of how important it is to communicate appropriately when using email as a communication tool at work. Emails are frequently dashed off at high speed, often with little thought given to their construction. However, emails reflect both you and your company just as much as a letter on headed paper. Emails should be kept brief, concise, and always checked for the tone of delivery.
So, here a four quick tips for writing effective emails.
Grab your reader’s attention
Your email needs to engage the reader’s interest quickly. It must be concise, but still contain enough content so that it is not ambiguous or misleading. Regardless of how brief the email may be, it should flow logically from one point to another.
Have a clear subject line
A good subject line will sum up what the message is all about, it should entice your audience to open it, read it, and act. They are ideal for enabling your document to be easily skimmed so the reader can decide if they need to give it more attention. Meaningful email subject lines make it easier to file and retrieve later, and for “threaded” email correspondence.
Include a call to action
We’ve all received long, rambling emails from people and by the time you get to the end, you don’t really know what you’re supposed to do (if anything).
Be direct, but polite – an Email is a low context medium. It doesn’t transmit behavioural clues like voice inflection that might otherwise indicate what you want a person to do. So, it’s important to be direct and ask what you want the other person to do. It sounds basic, but it’s a key to effective email.
Use simple language
If you have a strong vocabulary, congratulations! Most of us don’t…
‘Plain English’ means words that are easily recognised and understood. A good test for this is to ask yourself, “Would I actually say this if I were speaking to them?” If you would, it is likely that others would also.
A ‘long’ word is one with more than three syllables. Shorter words are generally more commonly used. This rule doesn’t apply, however, when a long word is also a common word, for example communicated or negotiated.
An email statistics report produced by the Radicati Group Ltd, 2020 noted the growth in the number of daily emails being sent worldwide over a five-year period (2015-2019). According to their research in 2019 approximately 246 billion emails were sent worldwide every day. By 2021 that number is expected to grow to 320 billion every day and the average office worker sends and receives approximately 126 emails per day. So if you want your emails to stand out amidst all this global written chaos…make your emails count.
The Radicati Group Ltd. (2020). Email statistics report, 2015-2019. California: The Radicati Group, Ltd.