6 ways to write better work emails
Despite email being around since the embryonic days of the Internet, it’s still the most popular way of professional communications online. The average employee will spend 8% of their working week responding to emails.
So why do we put so little effort into writing them? Messy and poorly written emails have become the bane of the office workplace. According to a SaneBox report, just 38% of all emails received are important. These are our best tips for writing better emails.
Take your time
This may seem counterproductive in a fast paced working environment, but it’s crucial that you take a moment to really think about your writing. Poor writing is the torpedo that sinks most emails.
By slowing down and ensuring you formulate your point clearly and coherently, your email will be easier to understand and will be less likely to need follow up questions. Spend those extra few minutes now to save them later on. Effective communication will compel the recipient to act.
Start and end well
Flattery may not get you anywhere in life but manners certainly will. Depending on the mannerisms of your workplace, emails should be opened and signed off on accordingly. This is part of appearing as you are, human. Good business relations are founded on good personal relationships.
Ensure the message of the email is evident from the start. Put the action to the fore of discussion. An informal “hi” to start and “thanks” to end may be sufficient in most instances but it may be necessary to up the formality at times.
For example, when responding to a client, “Dear Sir/Madam” is best to open with and “kindest regards” or “yours sincerely” both work well for signing off. Small manners can leave a good impression.
Keep it short
The best emails are under 150 to 200 words. They’re also the easiest to digest and understand. This ties in somewhat to the previous point. By taking your time, you can keep the body of the email short and concise. In a busy office, your boss won’t always have the time to read a 400 word response to what might in actuality be a simple one sentence answer.
Keep it simple
Remove all unnecessary adjectives and exclamations. They clog up an email and make it harder to understand at a glance. Business emails should include as few exclamations as possible. Ideally and only if required should they include one exclamation mark. The language and punctuation should be simple and precise.
Reread and reread again
There’s nothing worse than accidentally sending off a half finished email to an important business contact. One simple way of avoiding this is to leave the intended recipient’s address out until the email is completely finished.
Before adding the address and swooshing it off to the world, you should reread the email at least twice. If you’ve been under time pressure to respond then it’s quite likely you’ve made a few spelling or grammatical errors. If an email is plagued with bad writing and obvious mistakes, you’ll only serve to make yourself look more unprofessional.
If you’re working in a shared office space, ask a colleague to proofread the email for you. Shared offices or coworking spaces are hives of creative thinking and someone there might just know how to phrase that awkward sentence you keep tripping up on.
Pick up the phone
Email is a fast and easy way to relay information to clients or colleagues. That doesn’t mean it’s the best. At times, it’s necessary to follow up an email with a phone call to the client and ensure they understand what’s in the email. This personal touch not only ensures clarity, but also helps increase your reputation and relationship among clients or fellow employees.