Get To The Point And Harness The Email Writing Process
April 12, 2014 Leave a comment
Sure it’s important to get to the point and harness the email writing process. Saving time and our reputation means we have to be 100% clear when we communicate. It’s also critical our co-workers, suppliers and clients don’t overlook or misunderstand some critical piece of information.
Unfortunately, few of us ever studied communication. We studied economics – marketing and advertising – accounting or project management… and we are great! But now, 90% (or more), of our communication is by email. YIKES!
It gets worse! In today’s business environment more than half of us are reading and writing email on a smart phone or tablet… which means getting to the point is not only more critical than ever – it’s also near impossible.
Success is like walking a tightrope.
How To Get To The Point And Harness The Email Writing Process
I’ve been helping professionals write better email for years – so let me give you three tips on how you can get to the point and harness the email writing process.
Paying Attention “On Purpose”
Mindfulness involves a conscious direction of our awareness. So, similar to how mindfulness involves paying attention “on purpose”, the main objective of you email message should also be clear and… “on purpose.”
Make it easy for your reader to pay attention to your important information. Your reader should not have to wade through sentences and sentences… or paragraphs and paragraphs to uncover what you want them to know or do. You laugh… but look at some of the messages you receive. Chances are you can find messages that have all the history and background information up front and the important action item as the last sentence… and that is not good!
If you use an email writing process that helps you get to the point and pay attention “on purpose” I can guarantee your reader will also be paying attention “on purpose.”
Never send a brick.
Short messages get read – long messages (what I call bricks), get ignored. Your reader will likely pass over your long email until they have time to ‘invest’… which means they will forget about it and you’ll be delayed in getting the action you wish.
But even short email can look daunting if you don’t use an email writing process that breaks your copy up. So, as I’ve done in this example, I’ve broken a short brick of copy into 4 short – easily digestible paragraphs. If your paragraph is more than a few sentences long – use that as a signal that you are writing a brick.
This might seem like an odd #3 Tip since I could have covered Subject Line, Signature Block, Jargon. Links however are one of those things many people forget about and that I always get the Ah Ha light bulb moment during my Email Training Workshops.
There are a few good reasons to identify links. The most important is that it makes your reader feel safe opening it. There is a lot of SPAM out there. Another good reason is to make sure your reader doesn’t miss seeing the link. Not seeing your link is easy to do – especially since so many people are racing messages on smartphones and tablets.
BONUS tip about links… let your reader know what the link will do. Will the link open a pdf file or excel spreadsheet – or will it open a new browser screen and bring them to a website?
All three of these tips point to effective time management and an email writing process that helps you anticipate your readers needs in order to satisfy our own needs AND build / protect our personal and professional reputation.
Happy communicating and creating workplace harmony. Now you know how to get to the point and harness the email writing process.
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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.
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