How to Write Effective Emails

Chances are you’re going to spend most of your workday dealing with emails. If your goal is to be more productive, writing a simpler and clearer email is a step in the right direction.  With most professionals now receiving more than 100 emails daily, your recipients have just a few seconds to decide whether your email is worth opening.

Below are five tips that I have found to be effective in conveying my message through emails.

Subject line:

  • The subject line should communicate exactly what the email is about so that the recipient can prioritize the email’s importance. For example, writing “Do you have a sec?” is vague, since the reader will have to open the email or reply to figure out what you want. If it’s a job application, include specifics on the position. I have found it effective to make reference to a prior action when writing and email. For example – “I am following up on a voicemail that was left last Wednesday regarding a newly created Director of Regulatory Affairs position”. If it’s to another coworker, you should identify the project that the email refers to.

Have a clear objective and purpose for your email:

  • First question to ask yourself: would you respond to this email? Would the value proposition warrant a reply?
  • Practice the “one thing” rule when composing emails. Make each email you send about one thing only. If you need to communicate about another project, write another email.

Be aware of the size of your email:

Get directly to the point:

  • The first two or three sentences – no more than 20 words – should explain exactly what the email is about.

Don’t compose email on a mobile device:

  • You can read or even respond to emails on your phone. If you’re creating a message to send to multiple people, you’re going to want to think about it and edit it – and that’s a whole lot easier on a computer.

These tips are something that I’ve been refining during my career to work at a more efficient level, what email strategies have been effective for you?