When your boss finally gets out of a meeting or sits down after a long day, the last thing they want is a complicated, emotional and lengthy email popping up in their inbox. To avoid being dragged straight to the trash icon, you might want to keep these four simple tips in mind.
Tip #1: Start with a meaningful subject line
Think of the subject line of your email as you would the first message you receive from your newest match on Bumble. What you see first needs to catch your attention. Introduce what you’re asking for, needing, wanting or suggesting in the subject line. Keep it around ten words or less, and definitely double-check for spelling mistakes. You wouldn’t respond to someone on Bumble if their first message to you uses the wrong kind of “your.” The same goes for subject lines. Your message will go straight in the trash if you have an error in your email this early on.
Your intentions should be clear the moment your email pops up in someone’s inbox. Everyone is too busy to dig through every word of your email. If you really want a response back, you have to nail the subject line.
Tip #2: Keep it clear and concise
When writing a professional email, you must have one goal in mind. Whether you’re wanting clarification on an assignment or giving notes for tomorrow’s meeting, you have to say so… and fast.
To be clear and concise, you need to be brief. State the Five Ws (who, what, when, where and why) as soon as possible. If you want a response at their “earliest convenience,” your correspondence should be convenient too. Your boss or colleagues should be able to read your email in the time it takes to make a cup of coffee or complete that Rubix Cube that’s been sitting on his or her desk collecting dust since you got hired.
The first paragraph of your email should outline exactly what you need. To really take your email to the next level, try using bulleted lists, hyperlinks and bolded words within the body. This can help remove all the work that it takes to read and comprehend an email. Your goal should be to make it extra easy on the person you’re corresponding with!
Tip #3: Stay away from sweet introductions
While adding in a personal note can be thoughtful, it’s best to say your hellos then dive right into the point of your email. Your boss knows she’s going to see you at work tomorrow. You don’t need to waste your time and energy writing about how excited you are to see her tomorrow and how many great things you’re going to accomplish together. Save that for — yes — tomorrow. Simply begin your emails with a short, cheerful greeting, then cut to the chase.
The end of your message and how you sign off is important too. This brings us to your signature. Keep it professional and short, and don’t forget to state what you need. It can be beneficial to restate a deadline at the end of the body, especially if it is timely.
Tip #4: Avoid being too casual or too formal
As far as being too casual goes, always stick to proper email etiquette – no matter who you are writing to. Address the person you are emailing, create a body that is clear/concise and free of spelling and grammar issues, and don’t forget to properly sign off.
For internal emails, or those that can be less formal, don’t spend too much time thinking on them! One of the biggest professionals can make is reading and re-reading internal emails over and over again before sending. Be confident! As long as you are following proper email etiquette, getting your point across appropriately and avoiding the use of slang, nicknames, etc. you can never really be too casual!
We hope you enjoyed these tips for writing better emails. No matter who you are writing to, don’t forget to proofread before clicking send!