Can I dork out for a second? I totally love emails. I am the 1% of the population who is elated by a clean inbox, and pressing send after crafting a well-written note brings me no uncertain joy. Unfortunately, I’m a minority in this sentiment. For those of you who dread checking, responding to, and writing emails, I’m here to share my over-enthusiasm. Why are emails so great? For one, you have total control of your message, as opposed to a phone call or in person conversation, where there’s a lot of unpredictability. Secondly, most people are checking their email when they’re focused on work—as opposed to probably doing a million other things if you sent them a Facebook message or text. You also can keep records of all your conversations in one place, which is super helpful.
Although sorting through email is no fun (I’d highly suggest unroll.me for decluttering your inbox), today’s post is focused on a task most people dread: writing an email. What to say, how to say it…all that good stuff. Here’s how to send emails like a rockstar (and partial dork, like me!)
Create An Effective Subject Line. Like I mentioned before, people are usually pretty work-focused when they’re checking their email, so you need to make your subject count. I’m pretty big into using RE: + whatever I want to talk about. Don’t be vague! It will do you no favors in getting an answer. If possible, try and include times in the subject line and keep them as short as possible.
Bad example: Was wondering about that meeting we talked about last week…
Good example: RE: Strategy Meeting This Thursday?
Follow the 30-Second Rule. A good rule of thumb: if somebody can’t read your email in less than 30 seconds, it’s probably too long. Save complicated explanations for in-person meetings or phone calls (which you can schedule via email) and include attachments if there’s something you need somebody to review. Excessive compliments, comments about the weather, and other “fluff” will only bore and annoy your reader.
Bad example: Hey Jess I wanted to talk to you about the project I’ve been working on. I really don’t think that Section A makes sense especially considering that thing we talked about two weeks ago and here’s what I decided to change…
Good Example: Hi Jess! Wanted to send you a new copy of the project I’m working on (which is attached). Feel free to give me a call or let me know if you’d like to meet to discuss the changes. Thanks!
Be nice. With the above being said, there’s no reason to not include some pleasantries! “Hope you’ve had a great week”, “Looking forward to hearing from you”, and of course “Thank you for your advice/time/etc.” are always welcome bits of kindness that we all love and deserve.
Bad example: Dear Boss, could you send me the calendar for the rest of the year like you’ve been promising for weeks? Sheesh. Sincerely, Me.
Good Example: Dear Boss, just wanted to send you a quick reminder about sending that calendar over. Thanks so much, and I’ll see you at the company picnic! Sincerely, Me.
Nail your beginning… Make sure you know the title of the person you’re addressing, when possible, and avoid using time-related greetings like “good morning” because you’re not sure when the person’s going to read it.
…and don’t forget the ending. In addition to a sign-off phrase like “warmly, best, sincerely, etc.” your emails should include a personal signature. Your full name, title, and additional method of contact are fine. Don’t get too crazy with the quotes/life story/photos of your cats.
I’m not sure this post convinced you to become a self-proclaimed email dork, but hopefully it will make the process of digital communication a teeny bit easier. P.S. if you want a super GREAT email, you can subscribe to my blog below and get a weekly dose of dork in your inbox. Worth it? I think so.
Have a super-stellar rest of your week!