How to write effective emails

About writing emails

One of the things I see in my work is people sending a high quantity of emails and on a regular basis a lot of these emails are long emails or being not to the point. With a long email, I mean emails that contain 4 to 5 paragraphs and a high number of bullets. Also a lot of people are busy and have reading emails not in their list of priorities. In the past year I learned a few crucial things to consider when sending out emails.

Be clear in the subject line

The subject line is the perfect place to start explaining your email. A good subject line contains the following elements: the topic, and a call to action. Having these 2 elements in will assure the recipient will notice your emails, open it.

Structure your email and use bullets where necessary

Each email you write should contain a funnel. The funnel start with the introduction and background of your email, than you move to the body, and you close the email by mentioning the your question or action points.

Trigger for sending the email

In the introduction you should mention the reason or topic of sending the email. Also you mention why you are sending the email at this time. For example, mentioning in your email you are writing a person because of a deadline coming up next week.

Keep it short

One of the examples is people having to clarify some topics. This can lead to very long email threads, and it will happen quickly that it takes long time to get through the emails but even loosing sight of what already has been.

I set myself the following rules to prevent this from happening. I believe that if you send more than 3 questions in one email, chances are high you will loose track. Also make sure your email is not longer than 2 / 3 paragraphs.

Tag people

If you are sending an email to a group of people it is important making sure everyone understands what you need from each person by tagging a person using the ‘@’ sign.

Set a deadline

In order to assure you receive an answer in time, it is always important to set a a deadline when people need a reply or action. When you add a deadline, the recipient will be aware of the urgency of your email, resulting in longer responds time than you actually were hoping for. It is also never a bad idea to add a little bit of Slack to your deadline as well, so you make sure you have a reply within the required timeframe.

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