I receive, on average, at least 20 emails a day. Most of these are sales-related (I have a problematic shopping addiction), but for those from all the real people who are emailing me, it’s easy to separate a well-written email from a poorly-written one. In today’s world, you’re likely to spend more time emailing people at work, than you are talking with them face-to-face. So knowing how to write an effective email is one of those interpersonal communication skills you need to conquer!
Utilise the subject line
If you want to get your point across coherently, be sure to include a subject to your email. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. If you can aim for five words or less to summarise what your email actually talks about, you’re on the right track.
Avoid large chunks of text
Take a deep breath, think about what you’re trying to say, and then write. Don’t just sit down and rush out a huge chunk of text without much thought. You want to divide your points into different sections to make it easier to read. Remember: paragraphs are your friends. Using shorter paragraphs is not only more visually pleasing, but also increase the chance that the recipient will understand what you’re trying to communicate.
Be careful of your wording
Before you send an email, try reading it without any inflection. This is how the recipient will be reading it. Often when we write, we insert our own pauses, emphasises, and inflections in our minds. So what sounds polite to you, may come across entirely differently to someone else. By removing these inflections when you reread the email, you’re much more likely to pick up on any inappropriate wording!
Make it bold
If your email is in relation to an event, important meeting, or is scheduling-related, it might be a good idea to put in bold any of the important details (such as time, date and location).That way when the recipient is skimming your message, these key points stand out.
There’s nothing worse than receiving an email riddled with spelling mistakes. Not only does it look like you didn’t put much thought into your message, it can make people question your competence. Before you hit send, make sure you’ve spelt everything correctly and are using everyone’s right name (trust me, as someone whose last name can also be a first name, the amount of times people have gotten them confused is astounding).
Start with a greeting, end with a pleasantry
An email is more than just about communicating a particular point. To avoid potentially coming across as angry or cold, be sure to start with a ‘Dear’, ‘To’ or ‘Hi’ (depending on what’s appropriate) and the recipient’s name.
To conclude an email, The Muse says you should ‘be wrapping it up with action steps’. Think about what you want the recipient to do, and phrase that nicely at the end. Don’t forget to sign off with a pleasant ‘Thanks’, ‘Regards’ or something of the like.
These tips aren’t ground-breaking, by any means. But following them can make a huge difference in how people think of you. So next time you’re writing an email, take your time and think about how your message will be received.
Featured image courtesy of Pexels.