The flexible back-and-forth pattern of text conversations is at odds with the literal, efficient and measured approach most professionals have come to expect from business writing in the workplace. Email writing requires a bottom line, results oriented approach. Here are 4 Tips for Powerful Emails which will turbo-charge your productivity and write emails for results.
Effective Subject Lines
The first thing your reader will see is the subject line, so it has to be punchy and convincing enough to command attention. Between 2014 and 2018 the average office worker received about 90 emails a day and since yours is competing with 89 others, it must stand out and beg for priority.
Therefore, the subject line should follow four simple rules: be short and concise; be clear and easy to understand; be specific; and include a reader action.
As with the subject line, clarity and directness can help a reader to understand what they need to do, therefore after providing some brief context, state your conclusion.
This means reiterating what you want your reader to do: approve copy; confirm a deadline or respond with draft materials attached. This gets straight to the point and reduces confusion and means a lot less scrolling, which sends your reader to sleep.
Culture & Clarity
While you think your message is on point other may not, which can lead to a lot of frustration and negative consequences for your relationships. When you are emailing teams in far-away places, it is vital to identify the communication patterns they use there and match that style.
For example, colleagues in the U.S. and the UK are more individualistic and therefore begin sentences with “I”, while their Asian counterparts in countries such as China, Korea and Japan will be affronted by this style, favoring the collective “we”.
Structuring your message involves you making it easier for your reader to understand and action. For most busy professionals and senior executives, a prelude of lengthy context and historical details is something they do not time for.
Ask most decision-makers and they will probably tell you they just want to know the purpose of the document and what to do about it.
A good standard structure that has mass appeal:
- Start with the main point or conclusion.
- The action you want your reader to take and when that action is required.
- Supporting reasons / evidence, visually this has impact from being formatted using a number or bullet list.
- Less important detail.
- Reiteration of key points, namely the main point, reader action and deadline.
Emails that provide all the details needed to move things forward without having to follow up to clarify points and extrapolate precise meaning are important.
The tips above can help you to craft the kind of efficient, self-contained messages that are favoured by today’s professionals.