Email writing (and chat!) is the primary channel of communication at work these days, good, bad or indifferent. This became especially true during COVID and it's certainly not going anywhere any time soon.
Writing emails can seem so easy, but many people lose sight of the basic mechanics of email writing. When emails lack the basics, they can often find themselves immediately moved to the trash bin or no response at all! Consider the tips below for writing emails like a boss:
Subject lines: A great subject line is like having a fabulous doormat at your front door; it leaves an impression of what you're walking into. More importantly it can drive the action and sense of urgency depending on the topic. Remember the best subject lines are specific and/or drive action. Subject lines such as "hi," when you're requesting/needing something, are likely going to sit in the inbox when the receiver feels like getting around to it (which may be never!).
Less is more: 'Less is best' is a simple and easy rule to remember when writing digitally. Your email should convey your question/need within a few sentences and should not take forever for the reader to find.
Align writing style to company norms, while embracing your natural voice: This is the hardest to achieve. It is easy to slant your writing style to more formalization and getting away from your more natural voice because that seems more professional. Our best advice is to align your writing style with your company email norms and embrace who you are by using your natural language. For instance, if your company prefers emails with bullets, use those and lean into language that you would use in natural conversation just as you would with a colleague in the hallway.
Natural closing: When was the last time you said "warm regards" or "best regards" when saying goodbye to your friends? The answer is likely never, so avoid using it in email. Simple endings such as, "Talk to you soon," or "Look forward to hearing back from you, " are great substitutes.
Know when to pick up the phone instead: Last but not least, not everything is meant to be in email. One of the biggest challenges of communication is an over-reliance on email, especially in a world with many working remote. Don't forget to pick up the phone! Remember situations of detail that require explanation or when you are looking to build, preserve, and/or repair a relationship, are examples of when phone communication is likely best. It can be very easy to miscommunicate or misinterpret intent in written word and the repercussions of that could be high from a relationship standpoint. Don't shy away from picking up the phone when building, preserving or repairing a relationship is the critical objective.
What are your favorite email writing tips? Or perhaps email writing mishaps that you encounter? We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think below!
Shine on, Laura