For good or ill, we do a lot of emailing in our everyday lives. Here are a few tips before you start composing that next electronic mail message.
- Make your subject-line specific. No one wants to read an email with a subject line “Question”. Instead, relate your subject line to the actual topic of the email, like “Question about the Murphy project, phase 2”.
- Get to the point in the first paragraph. Don’t make the people you’re emailing have to read through a lot of fluff to get to the meat of what you want to say. Say it right off the bat and you’ll probably write a shorter email.
- Call to action. Finish off your email with a definite end in mind. Tell your reader you’ll call them on Monday to follow-up or that you’d like suggestions on how to proceed.
- Write like you talk. Are you cold and blunt when you talk to your co-workers in person? No? Then don’t do it via email.
- Proofread. Misspelled words and other typos can make you look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Take a few seconds to read through your email before you hit send.
- Is the address right? Sending an important email to the wrong person not only wastes time, but can reflect poorly on you. Stop and check the email address.
- Be good. Avoid sensitive topics, politics, race, religion, sex, and disabilities.
- Not everyone needs to be cc’d. Only cc someone if they’re working on the project.
- E.T. Phone Home. If you’re spending 5 or more minutes on an email, why not just pick up the phone and explain the situation. Or, if possible, get up and walk to your co-worker’s office or desk to talk to them in person.
- No need for thanks. It’s unnecessary to reply every time with at “Thank you!”.
Keep them simple and keep them from clogging up your inbox.