Effective email writing is missing art, which needs to behold and skilled.
The average office worker receives around 80 e-mails each day. With that volume of mail, individual messages can easily get overlooked. Follow these simple rules to get your emails noticed and acted upon.
Introduce yourself clearly
When we send text messages to our friends, we expect a lot of back-and-froths. But professionals who use email don’t enjoy getting a cryptic message from an email address they don’t recognize.
Make Good Use of Subject Lines in email
A vague or blank subject line is a missed opportunity to inform or persuade your reader. Before you hit “send,” take a moment to write a subject line that accurately describes the content, giving your reader a concrete reason to open your message
Readers will often get partway through a complex message, hit “reply” as soon as they have something to contribute, and forget to read the rest. That’s human nature.
Rather than forcing your reader to download an attachment and open it in a separate program, you will probably get faster results if you just copy-paste the most important part of the document into the body of your message.
Keep Messages Clear and Brief
It’s important to find balance here. You don’t want to bombard someone with emails, and it makes sense to combine several, related, points into one email. When this happens, keep things simple with numbered paragraphs or bullet points, and consider “chunking” information into small, well-organized units to make it easier to digest.
Notice, too, that in the good example above, Monica specified what she wanted Jackie to do (in this case, amend the report). If you make it easy for people to see what you want, there’s a better chance that they will give you this.
The messages you send are a reflection of your own professionalism, values, and attention to detail, so a certain level of formality is needed. Emoticons can be useful for clarifying your intent, but it’s best to use them only with people you know well. Close your message with “Regards,” “Yours sincerely,” or “All the best,” depending on the situation.
Check the Tone in the email
Your choice of words, sentence length, punctuation, and capitalization can easily be misinterpreted without visual and auditory cues. When we meet people face-to-face, we use the other person’s body language, vocal tone, and facial expressions to assess how they feel. Email robs us of this information, and this means that we can’t tell when people have misunderstood our messages
Finally, before you hit “send,” take a moment to review your email for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. Your email messages are as much a part of your professional image as the clothes you wear, so it looks bad to send out a message that contains typos.
To write effective emails, first, ask yourself if you should be using email at all. Sometimes, it might be better to pick up the phone. Make your emails concise and to the point. Only send them to the people who really need to see them, and be clear about what you would like the recipient to do next. Remember that your emails are a reflection of your professionalism, values, and attention to detail. Try to imagine how others might interpret the tone of your message. Be polite, and always proofread what you have written before you click “send.”
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