Depending on your line of work, you may receive hundreds of emails each day. Most people reply via their desktop computer, a laptop, and their phone multiple times each hour just to stay on top of the influx of information.
Managing the number of emails you receive and send can be overwhelming. Here’s how you can take responsibility for keeping lines of communication open with better emails.
1. BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front)
In the world of communicating via email, it’s OK to be brief and direct. In person, you want to soften a greeting. But in an email, the recipient is looking for the meat of the message.
2. Create a relevant subject line
That’s not a subject. If there’s any real information in an email with a subject line like, “Hi!” then it’s unlikely that the recipient will realize the importance of the communication. If you need something, make that the subject line.
Again, in person, it would seem harsh. In an email, it’ll be effective.
Subject: Process meeting 10:00-10:15 am tomorrow in Conf Rm B
Even if your recipients didn’t open the email, they’ve been reminded of the upcoming meeting.
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3. If there’s a deadline, say so!
Don’t make the recipient ask for relevant information.
Reread your emails before you send them for clarity to avoid unnecessary and frustrating back-and-forth. When you get a message you don’t fully understand, ask for clarity right away.
4. Pay attention to the squiggly red line
Misspelled words make you seem less intelligent and put together. A couple of clicks will fix it. No need to haul out your dictionary – unless you want to show off.
5. Say thank you
Tone is difficult to discern via email, so when in doubt, end warmly. A simple “thanks so much for your help, Shelly” can do wonders for your e-tone.
You don’t always need to call the recipient Shelly, though.
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6. Use the full suite of tools included with your email provider
Prioritize emails from your most important contacts be creating folders. Make sure your desktop computer, laptop, and phone are connected to the same account to avoid email crossfire.
7. Set your autoresponder with crucial information
Include how long you will be gone and if you can’t be reached, and who should be contacted while you are away. Include their phone number and role in the company so they know who they’re talking to.
8. Be brief
Long emails get saved “for later” which really means “never.”
“Did you see my email?”
“Yes. I haven’t had time to read it.”
If you find yourself facing a large email, prioritize it for a time when you’ll have more than five minutes to look through the information. Use third-party tools to schedule your response during business hours if you don’t want it to get buried in a sea of overnight messages.
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9. Use whitespace
People skim content, so it’s in your best interest to not deliver an exhausting wall of text. Instead, break up your paragraphs into 2-3 sentence chunks and read through the entire message to delete anything that doesn’t serve your purpose. Kind of like this blog.
The little red lines under misspelled words won’t save you every time. Proofread for context, incorrect wording, confusing sentence structure, and tone.
If you really want to take your email game up a notch, check out Grammarly. This extension helps to eliminate embarrassing mistakes.
11. Separate ideas deserve their own email
If you are contacting a client to find out if they have revisions for your proposal AND you’d also like to set up a meeting for next month, create two emails. You’ll be glad you did when you can easily confirm the meeting time without having to search through a lengthy conversation about proposal revisions.
Getting too many ideas in one email can make responses confusing and cause your main messages to become diluted.
Hungry for more content? Check out The Top 3 Ways to Improve Your Business Communications with VoIP.