Emails are certainly a convenient way to communicate in the workplace, but are all too easily misunderstood. A recent study by Sendmail found that 64% of people have sent or received an email that caused unintended anger or confusion. Here are seven tips to make sure that doesn’t happen to you:
- Keep emails short, clear, and to-the-point. By writing clearly, you’ll become known as someone who knows what they want and who gets things done.
- Know the purpose of your email. Clear emails always have a purpose. If you don’t know why you’re sending your email or what you need from the recipient, you shouldn’t be sending it.
- Use the “one thing” rule. The less you include in your emails, the better. Make each email you send about one thing only.
- Practice empathy. When you write emails, think about your words from the reader’s point of view. Ask yourself: “How would I interpret this?” “How would this make me feel if I received it?” Thinking of other people when you write your emails will transform the way people respond to you. Remember, people are busy, they appreciate a compliment, and they like to be thanked.
- Limit yourself to 5 sentences. According to Guy Kawasaki, “Less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than 5 sentences wastes time.” There will be times when it’s impossible to keep an email to 5 sentences, but in most cases, 5 sentences are sufficient.
- Stick to a standard structure. Include a greeting, a compliment or pleasantry, the reason for your email, a call to action, a closing message, and a signature. Your signature should include your name, job title, and contact information.
- Use short words, sentences, and paragraphs. Never use a long word where a short one will do. Short words show respect for your reader. If it’s possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.