Love it or hate it, email is a fundamental part of the way we communicate at work. Here are five ways to streamline your email writing.
1. Be purposeful. Knowing why you’re writing is almost more important than what you’re writing. Do you want to inform the recipient, persuade them of something, ask for something, or add to the knowledge of a situation? Keep that purpose in mind.
2. Get to the point. And do so in the first paragraph. “I am writing to tell you/ask you/let you know …” They know that you don’t really “hope this email finds you well” – either say something original, sincere and specific to them, or leave the lazy openers alone.
3. Keep it short. About five sentences should be plenty. Any more than that and you probably need to pick up the phone or have a meeting.
4. Keep the tone conversational, but professional. Only lawyers use terms like ‘attached hereto for your kind information’ or ‘hereinafter’ during the course of a normal conversation. If you wouldn’t use a word while talking to a friend, don’t use it at work either.
5. Send less email to receive less email. We’re quick to default to emailing something, and just as quick to complain about how full our inboxes are. If you’re filling up other people’s inboxes, you shouldn’t be complaining about yours. There are multiple other ways to communicate – use them!