Your business e-mails are not the venue for rambling random unorganized questions or your latest overly wordy sales pitch or manifesto. In business time is money and efficiency matters.
Study after study proves out that long e-mails do not get read in their entirety. They get scanned. I’ve even caught myself scanning instead of reading when I am pressed for time!
Tips for Succinct, Efficient and Effective Emails
Here are practical tips to add clarity to your communications and increase the chances your e-mails are read in their entirety:
- Before you begin typing your e-mail know the purpose and goal of your communication to make sure your topic is covered succinctly.
- Keep paragraphs and sentences short. Paragraphs to two sentences. Sentences to no more than 10-15 words.
- Do your best to keep each e-mail as topically focused as possible.
- Use brief and concise bullet points when covering numerous thoughts or issues. This offers a better chance to be absorbed and applied/replied to. Visually, bullets do not look like too much to tackle. Subconsciously the recipient thinks they can acquire your points in little tid-bits and are more likely to absorb your points in their entirety. No need to code HTML bullet points. Simple use => or * to separate your points.
- If you find a topic requires more coverage or priority, have that topic be in its own stand alone e-mail. By doing so you avoid it being diluted among numerous other issues.
- If you find that your topic is very detailed, create a document in PDF and send that along as an attachment. This offers the ability to review that topic when they have time and to file/print it for later review.
Simple, Easy and Powerful
By integrating these tips, you offer best approach to encourage the other side to read, review and absorb your information. Especially if their reply is desired or required.
One last thing… Before you click that Send button, reread your e-mail — out loud. This will help to confirm that your meaning, intent and tone are what you desire. Reading your e-mail out loud also serves to pinpoint those areas of your e-mail that may need clarification or a bit of wordsmithing so that you are more concise.