There are certain types of emails that tend to frustrate the recipients. One type is from the “too mucher”, the other from the “non-discriminator”. We have a couple of tips to help ensure that your emails won’t fall into either category.
Keep it simple
In a business context, email has probably become our number one form of communication. Almost 145 billion email messages are sent every day, and on average, people deal with dozens of them in the course of a day on the job. The clearer and more concise an email is, the faster and easier it is to respond to and deal with. Conversely, the longer the email, the less likely that someone will read it closely and carefully. And if it contains multiple messages dealing with completely different things, it gets even more difficult for the recipient to keep track of the ongoing threads of communication. As a result, they may only respond to part of your message. In short, try to avoid the tendency to put “too much” content into any one email. The general rule should be, “One email, one message”, and with a subject line that clearly reflects the content.
What are you talking about?
If any given email generates an ongoing back-and-forth correspondence, keep a close eye on the subject line. It may well be that the focus of what is being communicated has changed – in which case the subject line should, too. This is particularly crucial as an increasing number of people in the business world are using email systems that “stack” messages. If a recipient wants to find a previously received email to double-check the date of a deadline, for instance, it can be discouraging to have to click through multiple messages in a chain of correspondence. Every time you respond to an email, especially as the chain gets longer, make sure that the subject line clearly describes the content it contains. If not, change it – each time, if necessary – into something clear-cut, such as “Budget agreement”, “New deadline” or “What’s the status quo?”. The easier you make it for your readers to keep track of the conversation, the easier – and more pleasurable – they’ll find correspondence with you.