Communication is a vital part of human experience. Over the years, we’ve developed more ways to do this. One way to communicate is by sending e-mails, and its value, particularly in the workplace, can’t be denied.
In fact, a study reveals that the average office worker receives around eighty e-mails per day. With that volume, it is easy for messages to be overlooked.
To prevent that, here are ways in which both business and nonbusiness folks can effectively communicate in this medium.
4 Tips for Effective Email Writing
Utilize Subject Lines Wisely
A subject line is what you fill in before getting started on your actual message. It serves two primary functions: grabbing the attention of the reader and summarizing the message’s content. When coming up with a subject line, a clear objective will always be helpful.
Keep things simple, and don’t overcomplicate things. It is just a line, after all.
Subject lines should not only be attractive, but they must also deliver the most important info without anyone having to open the e-mail. Speaking of opening e-mails, Epsilon’s fourth-quarter e-mail analysis of 2012 reveals some surprising facts.
Out of 7.3 billion sent e-mails, the average open rate stood at 27.4% while the average click-through rate was at 4.5%. This states that 75% of people don’t bother to open their e-mails.
Keep Messages Brief Yet Clear
Taking into consideration what the statistics above say, it’s safe to say that most won’t be bothered to read something complex and lengthy. To consider an e-mail effective, the message contained within must be kept to a minimum and written in a perfectly clear manner.
Get right down to the point, and let the recipient know what you want.
Start things off with an intro. A simple greeting is always a good idea. Don’t linger too much there, though, and move on quickly to the body of the e-mail. Provide contextual info and necessary details. Be sure to present it in a cohesive and logical way.
End the message without summarizing it. This is not a high school essay, after all. Add a final greeting or so, and you’re good to go!
Consider the Tone Used
Communicating in person allows people not only to hear each other’s tone of voice, but also to make their body language readily apparent for them to see. In e-mails, we lack that information.
Instead, people tend to look for other things: the choice of words, the length of sentences, capitalization, punctuation, and various others. Take note that these things can be easily misinterpreted.
A good way to see if the tone is appropriate is by imagining what will happen if your message becomes public knowledge. Reading it aloud can also help.
Will most people find it easy to understand? Does your message contain unnecessary sentences? Are there typos? If the e-mail is professional by nature, does the tone reflect it as such?
Take into account who the recipient will be, and adjust your e-mail accordingly.
Proofread before Sending
Make sure to review your message before sending it. For all you know, it may contain grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Besides basic spelling and grammatical errors, fact-checking is also necessary.
Misspelling a name may not seem like much, but it can alter your contact’s impression of you. If there are any mistakes with the details, depending on the circumstances, things can be either mildly embarrassing or downright horrifying.
One way to ensure minimal mistakes is to have an additional set of editorial eyes, although this may not be applicable to more confidential messages. This is more than appropriate for particularly important e-mails.
Sometimes, senders can be too close to what they’ve written to spot mistakes that have been staring them in the face the whole time. If there’s no one who can do that, then take some time away from your e-mail. Go back to it after a few minutes to provide yourself with an “outsider’s perspective” on your own work.
It may take some time to fully develop some of these practices as useful habits, but the results are worth the effort. Sending clearer and more effective e-mails can serve you well in both your professional life and your personal life. Your friends, family, colleagues, and superiors won’t have any trouble communicating with you, and chances are they’ll hold you in a much-higher esteem.