Almost every day we write business letters and the reaction to them is not always the same as we expect. They are not opened, they are not answered, people do not do what they are asked to do, and so on.
What needs to be done to make emails more effective?
First of all, people look at who the letter came from. It’s good if the standard name and/or surname is written there. If the letter is received from the faceless address “email@example.com” or, even worse, from “firstname.lastname@example.org”, such a letter will be considered as spam and will be sent to the trash without looking. Take some time to match the “sender” field in your email with its content.
The subject line is perhaps the most important thing in your email, because this is the second thing that people check before opening it. If the sender in corporate mail is most often somehow standardized, then absolutely any subject can be set.
Ask yourself a question: what is the purpose of your email? What do you want the recipient to do and when? It is this goal that is best indicated in the subject line along with the due date.
Don’t write vague “Report” or “Presentation” in the subject line, it is much better to add useful details: “Send me a report by 3:00 pm Tuesday” or “Prepare a presentation before the end of the week”.
If you want an urgent answer – insert at the beginning of the topic “IMPORTANT!” and/or use Microsoft Outlook tags to mark your email as important:
Don’t abuse the ability to add tags, or people will quickly get used to ignore them in emails from you.
People have a habit of adding everyone to their correspondence, but it is better to indicate in the “Recipient” field exactly those people from whom you expect a reaction, and in the copy of the email those who just need to be informed. People rarely react to unaddressed letters – “Someone else will answer.”
Be careful when replying to a email, select “Reply all” only if you really need to keep all participants in the correspondence.
If you add or remove someone from the correspondence, it is best to indicate this in the body of the letter immediately after the greeting, in the body of the email you can make an explanation of why you did it, for example, like this:
Greetings and messages
Choose an appropriate tone of greeting and address the person as you would in real life. Sometimes it helps to take a look into the signature – there most often people write their name the way they would like to be addressed. You can also search for a greeting in past correspondence, ask colleagues, or simply inherit the tone of general correspondence.
How not to do it:
Much better would be (depending on your relationship with the recipient):
Think about what questions the reader will have in mind. “What is it about?”, “Is it important?”, “What do I have to do with it?” – and consistently answer each question with one paragraph separated by empty spaces, no more than 5-6 lines. Separate greetings and goodbyes with white space.
If you don’t, people will either overwhelm you with questions in return, or come up with answers on their own, often wrong.
For each paragraph, you can write a small subheading briefly summarizing the details of the paragraph and highlight it in bold. This is enough, do not overuse different colors and sizes of text – even if you have them displayed beautifully, the recipient may have a different email program, in which different colors and fonts can turn into an unreadable mess.
Use lists and insert charts instead of dry numbers – this will improve the overall readability of the letter.
How not to do it:
The option is much better:
If you are replying to someone’s letter, copy the item you are replying to and write a reply to it, highlighting it in one color.
Do not use obscene words or inappropriate tone, trolling and sarcasm in emails, do not swear or write anything that you are not ready to publicly repeat aloud – your email may accidentally or deliberately be received by an unwanted recipient. Think about why you are writing this and what those whose opinion is important to you might think if the correspondence gets to them?
It is not even what we say that matters to people, it is important for people how we say it – remember that.
Be simple, do not write boring and difficult, your addressees are people, and reading for them should be as easy and understandable as possible. Do not use complex and confusing sentences, complex phrases that can be replaced with simple words.
Before sending, check your letter for spelling and grammar – this will improve the overall impression of the email. Your recipients know that you had time for this, show them respect. To do this, you can use the built-in mail checks or copy the text into Word and check there.
Be sure to set up your signature and include your main contacts in it: phone number and ID in the messenger. This will help your recipients if they want to contact you promptly instead of a long correspondence.
For example, my emails have the following signature:
Sometimes companies require a lot of additional information to be inserted into the signature: website address, logo, office address and other corporate information. In such cases, it makes sense to set up two signatures in the mail program: a full one for writing emails and a short one, which you will use only in replies and forwarding of other people’s emails.
If they wrote you an email – answer the same day. If it is not possible to give a complete answer, please reply briefly with the deadline statement: “Accepted, I will answer tomorrow by the end of the day.”
Do not dissolve the correspondence, if in 2-3 emails the correspondence becomes more and more active, and the emails are getting longer – make a call or a meeting. The same principle should be used if the correspondence is heating up or clearly turning into conflict. Live communication is much faster and contains many non-verbal cues that allow you to better understand the interlocutor.
After such a meeting, be sure to write an email to all participants in the correspondence about what we agreed on live.
- Configure the correct sender
- Indicate in the subject the action and the term that you want to receive from readers
- Specify correct recipients
- Think for the reader, write down his/her questions, write a paragraph-answer to each question
- Choose an appropriate tone
- Decorate your email with abaza, lists, diagrams, highlight subheadings
- Add contacts to signature
- Respond the same day and do not mess up correspondence