There are many different ways to write better emails and grab the attention of your reader. If you're like me, you're probably inundated with new email messages every day, and despite your best intentions, you probably wind up ignoring a big portion of them.
Add on my mobile device that lumps all of my emails into one GIANT mailbox, and it would take me weeks to go through all of the correspondence I receive! And if I am struggling with this, I am sure that other people deal with the same thing. That realization prompted me to do a little research- How can I make my email stand out?
Here a few ways to get your emails read and responded to:
1. Subject Lines Matter. Keep them short and pointed. Do not try to fake a message you are forwarding, keep the Fwd: in the subject line. If there is a deadline or urgent reply required, make sure it is clearly stated in the email’s subject.
2. Keep it short and sweet. The average person gets inundated by email every day, and many of these emails go unread. The key is to keep it short and to the point. Try to only include one “main idea” in the email. (Think Haiku, not Novel) When possible, three sentences is about the length that will hold the attention span of the reader. If you’re struggling to keep it brief, you might want to pick up the phone, have a face-to-face conversation, or spend a little more time thinking about what you really want to say.
3. Be Direct. Get to the point. Delete adjectives and adverbs. What do you want or what do you need? If you can’t keep your emails short, at least include a brief summary at the top, and indicate whatever action is required. (In the Army, we called this a "BLUF" statement--bottom line, upfront.)
4. Reread before sending. And do it twice. Typos, misspellings and grammatical errors can define the impression you give to the recipient. It is always best to reread your emails.
5. Add the recipients LAST. Make sure you add the recipients and double-check the addressees on any important email you send. Even better, don't address an email until you've finished reading and editing it. There's nothing like accidentally hitting the "send" button too early, and firing off your unfinished thoughts to an important business contact.
Chances are, you spend over a quarter of your workday dealing with emails, so if there’s one thing you choose to upgrade, writing better emails that get responses is a great upgrade to make!