Advertising
Advertising

Do Your Emails Suck? How to Write Emails That Get Results

Do Your Emails Suck? How to Write Emails That Get Results

Read Next

Scroll down to continue reading article
class="bigphoto">
Do Your Emails Suck?

    Feel like a slave to your inbox? Improve your writing and you’ll save plenty of time by eliminating miscommunications and the need for follow-up. Email management productivity tips can only do so much if you don’t know how to write an effective email. That doesn’t mean you have to strive for lyrical prose in every message (though I always welcome lyrical prose in my inbox). The key is to communicate clearly and effectively so that recipients know exactly what they need to do in response and you can avoid endless back-and-forth and time-consuming misunderstandings. The following are some basic guidelines for writing more effective emails:

    • Get to the Point: Every email that you write should have a clear purpose. For example, your purpose may be to deliver key information, to request a follow-up action, or to persuade someone to your point of view. In a well-written email, the purpose is stated early (in the first line of the email if possible) and followed by whatever supporting points that the reader is likely to need. Don’t burden your reader with paragraphs full of non-essential details. Don’t make him try to figure out what it is that you want. If you fail to state your purpose clearly or write long, meandering intros before getting to the point, your email is far more likely to get ignored or filed away for “later” and never looked at again. That means you’ll soon be writing another email.
    • It’s Not About You: Always keep your reader’s point of view in mind. Who is your audience? What do they care about in relation to this message? What details do they need to act on the email? Don’t assume that everybody’s priorities are the same as yours or that everyone has your frame of reference. To get the response you want, communicate what’s in it for the reader and make it as easy as possible to respond.
    • Write a Good Subject Line: Your recipients get a lot of email, including plenty of junk from both spammers and inconsiderate colleagues. Your email will likely be competing for attention in a very busy inbox. Therefore, you will always get a faster response if you take a moment to craft a clear and specific subject line that communicates why your message is important. Think about your subject line as a headline – it should make your recipient want to read more. For example, the subject line “Forms” is far less likely to get a speedy response than “Insurance Forms Due Monday.” And remember, if you’re forwarding or replying to a previous email, it may be worthwhile to change the subject line if you are introducing a new topic or purpose.
    • Don’t Take That Tone with Me! Getting your tone right in an email can be tricky. What you see as direct can be interpreted as insulting. What you consider enthusiasm can be read as pushiness. Nobody is eager to respond to an email with an attitude problem. You may even inadvertently set off a hissy fit, snit, or passive aggressive pout. None of these are conducive to productivity. Read over your email before you press send and think about how it will read. Are there any phrasings that could be misinterpreted? Would a “please” or “thank you” hurt? Of course, there are times when you have to deliver bad news or negative feedback and you can’t avoid a little bit of tone. In those situations, you’re probably better off scheduling a face-to-face meeting or phone call to minimize misunderstandings and give everyone a chance to clear the air.
    • Write Like a Grown-up – When you’re writing a professional email, spelling and grammar really do count. Save your uncapitalized, run-on sentences and your excessive LOLs and !!!s for the American Idol message board. If you want your email to be taken seriously, take a little time to proofread for embarrassing errors. And the same rules apply when you’re emailing from your PDA. People may cut you a little extra slack if they know you’re composing on a tiny keyboard at a stoplight, but that doesn’t mean that it’s okay to write like a grade schooler.
    • Don’t CC the Entire Free World: Think about who REALLY needs to see the message and leave everybody else out of it. Once you get a reputation for reckless CC’ing, your messages are likely to go to the bottom of the priority list.

    More by this author

    How to Prepare for a Layoff Do Your Emails Suck? How to Write Emails That Get Results

    Trending in Communication

    1 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear 2 The Lifehack Show Episode 3: Why Validation is Key to Lasting Relationships 3 How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You 4 How to Make Positive Changes Now (And Start Living a Fulfilling Life) 5 7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on July 18, 2019

    10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear

    10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear

    The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

    In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

    Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success.

    1. Become Aware of What’s Outside of Your Comfort Zone

    What are the things that you believe are worth doing but, are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

    Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts but, your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

    2. Become Clear About What You Are Aiming to Overcome

    Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

    Advertising

    How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

    Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your look? Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

    3. Get Comfortable with Discomfort

    One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

    Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

    4. See Failure as a Teacher

    Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

    Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

    Advertising

    Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

    10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    5. Take Baby Steps

    Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

    Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

    Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

    The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

    Advertising

    6. Hang out with Risk Takers

    There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. Almost inevitably, their influence will start to have an effect on your behavior.

    Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful.

    7. Be Honest with Yourself When You Are Trying to Make Excuses

    Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

    Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

    8. Identify How Stepping out Will Benefit You

    What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

    9. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

    Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

    Advertising

    If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

    10. Focus on the Fun

    Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

    Final Thoughts

    It will seem really scary at first to get out of your comfort zone. But as I said, you don’t need to jump right out of your comfort zone at once, you can take baby steps gradually.

    As you slowly push past your comfort zone, you’ll feel more and more at ease about the new stuff which seemed so dangerous to you.

    Take the first step and I’m sure you’ll make it!

    More About Stepping out of the Comfort Zone

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Read Next