Tips to make your emails effective

Tips to make your emails effective

If you’re struggling to keep it brief, you might want to pick up the phone, have a face-to-face conversation, or spend a little more time thinking...

Here are 10 ways to take your emails from mediocre to majorly awesome — while inspiring other people to step it up, too:

  • Announce your intentions upfront

“Hey! I know you’re busy getting ready for the conference, so I’ll get right to the point. I am writing today because…”

  • Try to include one ‘big idea’ per email

“The main thing to remember is...” “The key takeaway from our conversation is...” “The one thing I need from you, right now, is...”

  • Try to use statements

This: “I think launching the new campaign on Thursday is the best choice. If you agree, write back to say ‘yes,’ and I’ll proceed. If not, let’s talk.”

Not this: “So, what do you guys think? I’m open to everybody’s ideas!”

  • Be surprisingly generous

“Congratulations on your promotion. Very exciting! P S I left an inspiring book on your desk. Just a little something to usher in the next chapter. Enjoy.”

“I was thinking about your new project. Here’s a free resource that might help...”

“I've got a free guest pass for a local co-working space. I want you to have it. Enjoy.”

  • Deliver criticism with respect and specific

“Thanks for all of your work. We’re getting closer, but the logo still isn’t feeling quite right. Here are three specific adjustments that I’d love for you to make.”

  • Show your humanity

“I am so sorry to hear that your dog passed away. Mine went to doggy-heaven last year. If you want to talk about it, I’m here. If you want to not talk about it (and go out for a coffee or do something fun), I’m here, too.”

  • Tell your reader what you need

“Hey! Here’s a quick recap of our conversation—plus two questions for you at the end. I’d love to receive your responses by [date] so that we can keep moving forward on schedule.”

  • Send emails that include a compliment

“Hey. You did a terrific job at the press conference. You were funnier than Ellen DeGeneres and totally nailed the message. Thanks for making our company look great!”

  • End emails with some beautiful words

“No rush on this.”

“For your information, only. No action necessary.”

“No response required.”

  • Astonish people with your brevity

It’s not always possible; however, try to express yourself in three sentences or less. Or as close as you can get. (Think haiku, not memoir.)

If you’re struggling to keep it brief, you might want to pick up the phone, have a face-to-face conversation, or spend a little more time thinking about what you really want to say. When you write better emails, you set a new barometer of excellence—inspiring everyone around you to communicate more clearly and effectively, too.

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