Have you ever received an email that didn't give you any clue as to what it was about?
Writing emails that effectively deliver your message isn't hard, but you do have to make an effort. Words on a page, unlike words spoken aloud, don't always communicate our meaning. Over the years I've learned a lot about sending effective emails and I thought I'd share what I've learned with you.
I receive a lot of emails every day. Some of them come from friends and family, others arrive from clients and colleagues, and others still are from companies wanting me to buy their products. Some of the best emails that I get follow the guidelines below.
As a leader you will have to communicate effectively with your team. In today's electronic world, much of that communication will happen via email. Here are a few things that I do to ensure that my intended message is received.
Better Subject Lines
Emails should always, always, always, have a subject line; however, not all subject lines are created equal. The best emails that hit my inbox have clear subject lines that tell me what I'm about to read. If I send you an email, I want you to be able to glance at the subject line, and quickly and easily know what you're about to read.
Effective subject lines should also set expectations. If you're a subscriber to my blog, every time I send you an email about a new article, in the subject line you'll see “New Article!” followed by its title. I want you to know the message is from me, as well as tease you with what the article is about.
While not every email I send or receive has a picture, the best ones do. People love pictures! Images can often communicate a message much faster than even a hundred words. In addition to pictures, the body of your email must present a clear message.
Don't use long paragraphs. If you have a lot to say, pick up the phone and call the person; that's still the best way.
Be concise and to the point. Don't be sarcastic. The easier your message is to understand, the more of an impact it will have.
Also, with the growing popularity of conference calls, think about the people who would pick up their phone to dial in. The reason we break up phone numbers with dashes is to make the random group of numbers easier to read and remember.
For example, 800-555-1234 is much easier to read than 8005551234. If you're going to include phone numbers or groups of digits more than five long, use dashes to help your readers out and make it easier to key in the right numbers.
Spell checker is one of your best tools for writing emails. Though they aren't perfect, the proof readers built into email clients these days are pretty good. And they're getting better. You may have to turn the spell check on (typically found under “options”), but in today's world, proof reading your emails is a must.
Here's a proofreader pro tip for you. If you're consistently having to skip over people's unique or differently spelled name, add them to your email's dictionary. That way, not only will you save time on the next email you send to that person, but you'll also not have to worry that your auto-correct will mess up their name. If you have a unique name like me, I'm sure you'll appreciate people taking the time to get it right.
Using spell check and proofing your emails may take some added time, but ten extra seconds before hitting send can save you a lot of embarrassment.
By following these guidelines, you and I can both communicate more effectively in all of the emails we send and receive every day. Using better subject lines and better messages can result in better connections.
Question: What other email tips can you share? Please share your tips for me and your fellow readers by leaving a comment by clicking here!