Write better emails: 4 little things that make a big difference.
Three years ago, Inc. Magazine (a publication we quite like) predicted the demise of email by 2020. It’s a well-written piece and the points made are salient and well-researched. But with respect to the piece’s writer — and to the magazine — it’s hogwash.
According to a 2017 Radicati Group study from January 2017, better than 3.7 billion people actively write emails today. And it’ll jump to 4.1 billion by 2021.
So as long as you’re still emailing people, why not write better emails? We asked around, and most people said these five things would make all the difference in the world.
If 15 people are on a thread, you have to assume they’re on it for a reason. And unless you started the thread, it’s not for you to ask why. So if you’re not directly told otherwise, just hit “reply all.” Don’t worry about blowing up people’s inboxes. Let them decide what they need to follow and what they need to ignore in the moment. And if they need to reference the thread later on, they’ll be happy to have it.
When you forward an email to someone else, let them know why — especially if it’s a loooooooong thread. It’ll take you seconds to highlight the important part, delete what isn’t necessary or include a short note at the top. But it’ll save your recipient so much more time.
Annoying is downloading all the attachments in an email and getting little social icons as part of the package. Every. Single. Time. We’re all for using your signature to drive traffic to your social channels, but do it with words and a hyperlink (Control-K). If you want it to stand out a bit more, use a different font or size.
TLDR. Too Long Didn’t Read. It’s the number-one reason information is missed. But sometimes you just have a lot to say and that’s okay if you make it easy to digest. Bullet point your thoughts. Break up any sections. And try to keep yourself on point. A good trick is to keep paragraphs to three lines. The space gives your thoughts room to sink in.
Think about what else you could be doing to write better emails and model it yourself. Maybe you’ll get people copying you, and we’ll all be better off.