Writing Effective Email
Write better emails with
James Manktelow & Amy Carlson.
James Manktelow: Hello, I'm James Manktelow, CEO of MindTools.com, home to hundreds of free, career-boosting tools and resources.
Amy Carlson: And I'm Amy Carlson from Mind Tools.
How many emails do you think you write during the day?
Most of us write at least a dozen or more. We communicate through email with our teams, bosses, customers, suppliers, and friends.
But have you ever stopped to look at how you're writing your emails?
Do people respond to what you write, or do they miss key information? Do your emails even get opened?
Knowing how to write an effective email is a vital skill, and you can transform your emails by following a few simple rules.
JM: First, look at your subject line. Think of it like a newspaper headline.
Newspapers wouldn't be read by many people if they didn't have great headlines. And the same is true for your email's subject line.
Your subject line should be specific and concise so your reader knows exactly what the email is about.
For instance, imagine you're writing to a colleague to remind them about a meeting. In the subject line, you could write "November eleven, ten a.m. Meeting Reminder."
This subject line gives an overview of the content of the email at a glance.
When you can fit all the necessary information into the subject line, you can also use an EOM Headline.
EOM stands for "End of Message."
So, instead of writing a subject line and an email, just write EOM at the end of your subject line.
Then receiver will know that they don't need to read the email.
AC: Another strategy you can use to write more effective emails is to make only one point per email.
This is useful because the receiver can then access and save important information easily, and delete the emails they don't need.
JM: For instance, imagine you've written to a colleague about changes she needs to make to a report. Your subject line clearly states that the email is about those revisions.
But at the end of the email, you include a quick reminder about an important meeting taking place tomorrow.
Unless your colleague puts the meeting time into her calendar right away, there's nothing obvious in her inbox to remind her about it.
Instead, write two emails – one that details the revisions, and another about the meeting reminder.
AC: Another useful rule is to specify the response you want.
For instance, if you need the person to call or to reply to the email, then clearly state what you want them to do.
And, make sure that all your contact information is in the email, including your name, telephone number, and title.
Overall, keep emails as short and simple as possible – we all know off-putting long, dense, complicated emails can be!
JM: Knowing how to write effective email is an essential skill. And following a few simple rules can make a big difference in how others read, and respond, to your messages.
You can find out even more about writing effective emails in the article that accompanies this video.