Creating Effective Emails
We all send and receive thousands of emails, but some are more effective than others. These top tips will help you in creating effective emails that are read and acted upon.
Make sure your subject line is meaningful and useful to the reader. They want to understand what the email is likely to be about, so don’t use ‘Urgent’ or ‘Important’ as the subject line.
While an email is a less formal communication type, you still need to ensure your greeting is appropriate for the relationship you have with the recipient.
Be really clear about what you want to say. Bullet points work well in an email as people tend to scan read them, and bullets make it easier to pick up the key points. You don’t need too much waffle.
If you want someone to take action as a result of the email, you need to state this upfront, don’t wait until the end.
Try to keep all of the relevant content in the body of the email. Only include attached files where absolutely necessary. People are less likely to open them, possibly for time reasons or due to fear of viruses.
USE OF CAPITALS AND BOLD
While the use of capitals and bold font can highlight key content, be wary of overusing them. In particular, do not write the whole email in capitals. It doesn’t increase the users understanding and can come across as shouting.
If you are copying in others on the email, be clear why in the body of the email. For example, ‘Sarah, I have cc’d you in on this so that you are aware of potential impacts for your department, but you do not need to take any action.’
Keep the email brief. If the recipient opens your email and it is more than a screen, they are unlikely to read fully all the way to the end, and any key messages may be lost.
When you finish your email, it is worth repeating any action you want someone to take, and any future arrangements. For example, ‘So if you can speak to Dan as discussed, then we will meet again next Friday at 10am to continue the project.’
If you do not get a reply to your email, it is best to give it a couple of days and then try again. Any sooner may be seen as pushy.
If you follow these top tips, your emails will be more likely to be read, understood and acted on.