Writing effective emails doesn't have to be complicated. After all, one of email's biggest benefits is its informality. However, just as you probably wouldnt wear a stained shirt and ripped jeans to work just because it's casual Friday, it's also wise to follow a few basic do's and don'ts before you click the send button.
- Lead with action, not exposition. When writing an email, lead with what you want the reader to do. The rest of the email can describe when, how, and why. Writing effective emails is about communicating information that the reader can grasp quickly. In the world of music, this is summed up by the phrase "Don't bore us, get to the chorus!" In other words, hook the reader early.
- Post attachments, don't attach them. While it might be necessary sometimes to add documents or supporting information to emails, don't use your email client's attachment feature if you can avoid it. Attachments can lock up people's email and take up space. It's better to post to a cloud service and give the link in your email.
- Write when calm, not when you're emotional. Writing effective emails requires a clear head. If you're angry or otherwise at risk of saying something you might regret, write the email in another program, let it sit, and then reread it before you send it.
- Choose the right recipients, not everyone. Just because you can send an email to the entire company doesn't mean you should. No one likes receiving frivolous emails. Send each email to the person who needs it and no one else. That way, your discussions will stay focused and you won't waste coworkers' or supervisors' time.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. Just because email is an informal medium doesn't mean that you don't need to be professional. Part of writing effective emails is communicating your skill and credibility through the way you express yourself.