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6 Steps for Writing Effective Emails

October 14, 2019

Welcome to Mind Tools’ video learning series. Did you know that the average office worker receives around 80 emails a day? All of this incoming information can cause stress and tension, and may cause people to miss important messages that can get “lost in the pile.” So, in this video, we’ll explore six steps you can follow to get people to read and act on your emails. Before writing your next email, ask yourself: “Is it really necessary?” Would it better to use Instant Messaging or the phone, instead? Also, avoid sending emails that will likely create a long chain of replies, or which contain sensitive information. Email is not always as secure as we like to think it is. Next, think about your subject line. This should grab your reader’s attention and summarize the content of the message. For example, if you’re sending a meeting reminder, avoid using an over-simplistic subject line like “meeting.” Instead, specify the type of meeting, and the date and time. This could read something like: “Project Review Meeting, 11am – 10th September, 2018.” Keep your sentences short and to the point. The body of your email should be direct and informative. And, make sure that they are focused by writing a different one for each topic you want to discuss. This will make it easier for your recipients to organize their responses. Your emails reflect your professionalism. So, avoid using informal language, slang and jargon. And only use emoticons with people you know well. After all, recipients may share your emails with other colleagues or even clients. Unlike face-to-face conversations, it can be difficult to judge someone’s tone from an email. So, think about how your email reads before you hit “send.” If you think that there’s potential for your feelings or intent to be misunderstood, rephrase your message so that it’s clearer. Finally, take a moment to review your email for grammar or spelling mistakes, and double-check that it contains all the key information. For more ideas on how to craft effective and engaging emails, read the article that accompanies this video.

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