4 Tips for Writing a Proper Email

29 Apr

We’ve all experienced the feeling of dread upon opening an email and discovering a huge brick of text.

Don't be the source of this!

Here are 4 tips to make sure your emails aren’t met with dismay:

1.  Use an Appropriate Subject Line

Your subject line should be an ultra-short summary of the content of your email.  Add signposts like URGENT, RESPONSE REQUIRED, FYI, etc. when applicable.  Never use signposts like “URGENT” unless the email actually warrants such a headline.  Doing so makes you seem overly dramatic, and may cause people to skip reading your emails altogether.

2. Be Concise

Always begin your email with a summary paragraph no longer than 2-3 sentences.  No matter how complex the subject is, you should always be able to summarize. Like Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

…And he was talking about theoretical physics.

3.  Use Bullet Points

Bullet points are a double-whammy of good practice for composing emails:  First, using bullet points will force you to organize your thoughts, ensuring your emails are word-vomit free.  Second, bullet points are easily “scannable.”  Recipients will understand your message with significantly reduced time and effort.

4.  Leave White Space   

Reading text on a screen is more difficult for human eyes than reading on paper, and consequently your readers will appreciate white space left between paragraphs.

Which email would you rather read?


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