We all rely on email for a large part of our work communication, especially for communicating with colleagues, clients, or suppliers in other parts of the world. While email is useful, it can also take a lot of time and sometimes lead to confusion. Here are some expert tips on making your emails more effective.
Use a clear subject line
Many emails never get opened because people are overrun with too much to do. Make sure you have a clear subject line for your email so the recipient immediately knows what it’s about and has some motivation to open the email and reply right away.
Keep it short
How do you feel when you have to read a really long email to find some information that could have been given in just a few words? Frustrating, isn’t it? Keep your emails succinct but polite.
Would it be better to call?
Some things need a two-way discussion. Before you start writing your email, think about whether it would be better to call. Sometimes a quick phone call can cut out a lot of writing back and forth.
Give people options to choose from rather than asking open questions
While it can be nice to just ask someone’s opinion by email from time to time, often it’s more effective to give them options. For example, asking “When do you want to meet?” could lead to the other person suggesting a time when you aren’t free. Then you’d need to send more emails back and forth. However, if you ask “Would you rather meet on Monday at 2 pm, Tuesday at 4pm or Friday at 10am?” the other person can choose from a time you already know you are free, eliminating the need for more emails.
Check your email before you send it
It’s easy just to hit ‘send’ right after you’ve written an email but it can mean sometimes sending out an email that contains mistakes or isn’t clear. Take some time to read through your email before you send it and you’ll be surprised what you find!
Have a ‘cooling off’ period
One of the great things about email is that you don’t need to respond to them instantly. If you’re writing an email about something you feel strongly about, it’s a good idea to save it as a draft, do something else for a while, and then come back to it, read it and send it later. An email can be saved as a permanent record of your opinions on something so it’s important to make sure you are expressing yourself in the right way.
Don’t send too many!
Everyone has worked with someone who sends too many emails at some point. Don’t be that person in your office!
Make sure to think twice before cc’ing people in on an email. Some companies have punishment for excessive email use and it’s easy to see why.