Even back in the days when "email" was a neologism and you could still say "electronic mail" without people pausing for a moment to figure out what you meant, email communication served an important function. And while there are all sorts of office coordination and management tools on the market today, effective email communication remains the backbone of much business communication.
When you're writing your email, keep the following tips for email communication in mind:
- The subject line. Those you're communicating with may have hundreds of unread messages they need to prioritize, scan, and find quickly. Make it easy to infer the content of an email from the subject line. Instead of "an update," you might try "an update on the Montreal convention schedule." Be brief, but to the point, and never leave an email without a subject line, as it may be identified as spam.
- Proper grammar and punctuation. Without vocal cues or facial expressions, people will try to read tone from the style of your email. Writing in all caps reads as YELLING AT THE READER, and writing without capitalization can come across as juvenile or txt-speak-y. Proper spelling and punctuation imply that you're taking the topic of your email seriously. If you want to sound friendly and conversational, that's best accomplished through diction choices.
- Clarity and accessibility. Effective email communication is effective communication, period. If your email is meant to convey information , pay attention to how the writing accomplishes that. In most cases, ensure the most important information is first, use bullet points as needed (but sparingly), and avoid burying information in irrelevant details. If you want the reader to respond with information, make this request the first point in the email, or consider making this the subject line.
- Length. Readers typically expect that emails will be short, so ensure that your email is long enough to cover the topic in appropriate detail and not a sentence longer.
- The reader. Whether your emails are formal or informal depends upon who you're writing to and the kind of information you're providing. Your audience and the purpose of your email will drive your tone.
To learn more about how you can improve your email communication, contact us at Hurley Write, Inc.
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