Email is the preferred medium of communication for most of us. Email is incredible because you don’t have to be available at the same time as your contact to communicate. This allows us to push problems when our colleagues are unavailable or on the other side of the world.
However, most of us are drowning in an endless list of letters. According to a report published in 2016, the average business user receives and sends over 100 emails a day.
Plus, emails are all too easy to misunderstand. A recent study by Send mail found that 64% of people sent or received an email that caused anger or unintentional confusion.
Because of the large number of emails, we send and receive, and because emails are often misinterpreted, it is important to write them clearly and concisely.
How To Write Professional Email Correctly
Writing short and accurate emails will reduce the time you spend managing your email and make you more productive. Keeping your emails short means you are likely to spend less time on email and more time on other tasks. However, writing is clearly a skill. As with all skills, you will need to work on developing it .
Initially, you may need as much time to write short letters as to write long letters. However, even then, you will help your colleagues, clients or employees be more productive as you add less space to their inboxes, which will help them respond faster.
By writing clearly, you will be known as the person who knows what he wants and makes things happen. Both are good for your career prospects.
So what does it take to write clear, concise, and professional emails?
Define Your Goal
Clear emails always have a clear purpose.
Every time you sit down to write an email, take a few seconds to yourself: “Why am I sending this? What do I expect from the recipient?
If you cannot answer these questions, you should not send email. Writing emails without knowing what you need is a waste of the recipient’s time and time. If you don’t know exactly what you want, it will be difficult for you to express yourself clearly and concisely.
Use The One Thing At A Time Rule
Emails are not made to replace appointments. In workshops, the more you work on agenda items, the more productive the meeting is.
With emails, the opposite is true. The less you include different topics in your emails, the more things will be clear to your interlocutor.
This is why it is a good idea to practice the one thing at a time rule. Make sure every email you send is associated with If you need to chat on a different project, write another email.
This is also a good time to ask yourself, “Is this email really necessary?” Again, only absolutely necessary emails show respect for the person you are sending emails to.
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The Practice of Empathy
Empathy is the ability to see the world through the eyes of others. When you do this, you understand their thoughts and feelings.
When writing emails, think of your words from the reader’s point of view. With everything you write, ask yourself:
How can I interpret this sentence if I received it?
Does this include ambiguous terms for clarification?
This is a simple yet effective writing style adjustment. Thinking about the people who will read you will change their reaction to you.
Here’s an empathic way of looking at the world to help you get started. Most people:
Busy They don’t have time to guess what you want and would like to read your email and respond quickly.
Enjoy the compliment. If you can say something positive about them or their work, do it. Your words will not be lost.
I would like to thank. If the recipient has helped you in any way, do not forget to thank them. You must do this, even if it is their job to help you.
When you first send someone an email, you need to tell the recipient who you are. This can usually be done in one sentence. For example: “It was great to meet you at [Event X]. ”
One way to shorten your presentations is to write them as if you were meeting face to face. You wouldn’t want to go into a five-minute monologue when meeting someone in person. So don’t do it by email.
You don’t know if an introduction is needed. You may have already contacted the recipient, but you don’t know if she will remember you. You can leave your credentials in the electronic signature.
This avoids misunderstandings. You introduce yourself again to someone who already knows that you are rude. If she doesn’t know if she knows you, you can just let her verify your signature.
Limit Yourself To Five Sentences
In each letter, you should use enough sentences to say what you need, no more. A good practice is to limit yourself to five sentences.
Fewer than five sentences are often violent and rude; more than five sentences are wasting time.
There will be times when it will be impossible to save an email containing five sentences. But in most cases, five sentences are enough.
Take the five-sentence discipline, and you’ll find yourself writing emails faster. You will also get more answers.
Use Short Words
In 1946, George Orwell advised authors never to use a long word where a short one is appropriate.
This advice is even more relevant today, especially when writing emails.
Short words show respect for your reader. By using short words, you have simplified your message.
The same is true for short sentences and paragraphs. Avoid writing large blocks of text if you want your message to be clear and easy to understand.
Use An Active Voice
An active voice is easier to read. It also encourages action and responsibility. Indeed, in an active voice, sentences are focused on the person who is acting. In a passive voice, sentences are focused on the object to which it acts. In a passive voice, it may seem like everything is happening alone. Everything happens actively only when people act.
Stick To A Standard Structure
What is the key to keeping your emails short? Use a standard structure. This is a template that you can use for every letter you write.
In addition to keeping your emails short, following a standard structure, you will also be able to write quickly.
Over time, you will develop a structure that works for you. Here’s a simple structure to start with:
- The reason for your email
- Call to action
- Closing a message (Closing)
Let’s take a look at each of them in depth.
- This is the first line of the email. “Hello, [Name]” is a typical greeting.
- The first time you email someone, a compliment is a great start. A well-written compliment can also serve as an introduction. For instance:
“I liked your presentation on [topic] [date]. ”
“I found your blog on [topic] really helpful. ”
“It was great to meet you at [the event]. ”
- The reason for your email. In this section, you say, “I will write an email to ask about …” or “I was wondering if you could help with …”. Sometimes you need two sentences to explain the reasons for your letter.
- Call to action. Once you’ve explained the reason for your letter, don’t assume the recipient will know what to do. Provide specific instructions. For instance:
“Could you send me these files before Thursday?” ”
“Could you write this in the next two weeks?” ”
“Please write to Yann about this and let me know when you do.” ”
By structuring your request in the form of a question, the recipient is asked to respond. Alternatively, you can also use “let me know when you did this” or “let me know if this is right for you.” ”
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- closing. Make sure to include a closing message before sending email. This has a dual purpose: to echo your call to action and make the recipient feel good.
Examples of good line closing:
“Thanks for all your help. ”
“I can’t wait to hear what you think. ”
“Let me know if you have any questions.”
- To finish thinking about adding your signature preceded by a welcome message.
It could be “Sincerely”, “Sincerely”, “Have a nice day” or “Thank you.”