Writing a good email is no longer a problem of just high school or college students. Despite college lectures or workplace training on how to write a business email, we have to face the truth that many people just cannot write a good email. This is a “chronic” problem that will affect the efficiency of the communication flow in your company. In article for Harvard Business Review, Shani Harmon goes back to basics with a few tips for all-too-common mistakes in writing emails that can be avoided:
- Don’t write an essay.
- Don’t include too many people.
- Don’t drag on.
- Don’t bury the lead.
Write What You Need
You don’t always have the chance to see your colleagues or managers face to face every day, so it is important to learn how to write emails that convey your feelings and address concerns. Think about your facial expression, voice tone, and physical gestures you have when you talk to a person; now transmit them into words, but succinctly and with a bit more formality. Business email is not something for you to drag on with your life story, or to make jokes and chill like talking to a friend on a coffee date.
The key is always be clear, concise, and respectful. Think of how a journalist reports a catastrophe and calls for people’s action to give a hand in aiding the victims. He or she will make sure that people are aware of the catastrophe and how serious it is, and then sympathetically ask for people’s help with gratitude. Do the same thing when you write an email: Treat it like you are in urgent need and your message has to be well-conveyed to be responded to immediately. Be to the point and descriptive, while still showing respect for your audience.
Harmon lists a few technical steps to draft an email:
- Use an intuitive subject line that clearly states the purpose of the message. Bonus points if you include a header, e.g., [ACTION] or [INFORM], that helps the reader understand the expected response.
- Provide a clearly stated request right at the beginning of your email in case your audience fails to read beyond the preview pane. At least you’ll increase the chances that people will understand the essence of your message.
- Bold the names of anyone who’s been assigned a task or asked a question in the body of the email to increase the likelihood of it getting the needed attention.
- Take the time to be nice. It will help your audience truly hear what you intended to say.
Don’t write something that others can just look at it, skim through the paragraphs, and leave there for good. Make your words weigh with some power so people feel compelled to respond to it. You can view original article here: https://hbr.org/2017/02/how-to-make-sure-your-emails-give-the-right-impression