7 tips for writing better emails

So much of our business and social writing is in email these days. Inboxes are overflowing and delete becomes the most overworked key on the keyboard.

Follow these 7 tips and your emails will be eagerly opened and readily understood.

1. Know your purpose

Why am I writing this? And what do I want my reader to do? These two questions will guide your opening and closing lines. Purpose and a clearly defined action give your emails the ‘oomph’ they need.

2. Choose your subject line wisely

The subject line is the first thing your reader sees. Make it succinct and intuitive so the reader is in the right frame of mind from the get-go. It’s OK to ask a question. Or you could introduce the subject with ‘how to…’ or by offering a benefit. Important news or deadlines can also form the subject line.

3. Get to the point

When you begin writing your email you should get straight to the point with a compelling first sentence. When your reader gets to the end of the first sentence, he or she should know where you are heading.

4. Use plain English

This is critical. Especially for work emails. Your colleagues do not want to be dazzled by your incredible vocabulary. They don’t want jargon or management-speak. Just write in plain English, using simple words that everyone can understand.

5. Write shorter sentences

Shorter sentences are easier to read. Any sentence of more than 15 words starts to twist and turn and loses its main point of focus which is to communicate and that becomes difficult to read and understand. See what I mean. Keep your sentences short and sweet.

6. Use bullets or subheads

The readability of a longer email will be enhanced with bullets or subheadings. Numbered lists also work well. The use of subheads gives your email structure and helps your reader to scan.

7. Close with action

Remember tip #1 about purpose? Part of your purpose is a desired outcome. Tell your reader what the next step is or what you want. Be clear about the action required and your email will not only be easy to read, it’ll be 100% effective.