There are over 4.35 billion email accounts in existence, and that figure is said to grow by 26% by 2019. With over 122 billion emails being sent every hour, there’s no doubt that this is one of the most popular modes of communication in 2016. Email has been heavily integrated in both our personal and working lives, and is a quick and easy way to communicate with others, share files, and contact people, but have we lost sight of the most effective way to use it?
We all have been guilty at sending quick responses or emails to our network, only to realize that you didn’t provide all the information the recipient needed, or that you were missing a key piece of information like a call to action or a deadline. We also probably have sent a long form email that should’ve been an in person conversation or meeting instead.
So how do you make sure that the emails you are drafting aren’t just a shot in the dark and are actually effective? Here are five ways to improve your email communications.
1. Keep it short
An email isn’t meant to be a novel, and if you have that much information to cover with the recipient, it’s likely that a phone call or meeting would be more effective. When people are busy, receiving multiple emails a day and they open up your email to find paragraph after paragraph of information, they’re like to save it for later when they have more time and easily forget about it.
Keep your email short and sweet, and if it requires more than that, send an email to set up a phone conversation or meeting instead.
2. Be straight to the point
Going along with keeping your email short, cut to the chase and keep your email straight to the point. Email isn’t made for fluff, unless of course you’re sending a letter to your Mom or grandparents. Use short sentences and bullet points to get your message across quickly and effectively.
Emails like this are easier to read, which means you are more likely to garner a response right away instead of having a back and forth dialogue due to you not making your messaging clear.
Every workplace has different email etiquette, but the one thing that isn’t forgiving is bad grammar or spelling, or even worse, if you get something wrong within the email or forget something important.
Make sure to proofread the emails you are sending to avoid any of these embarrassments from happening. There’s nothing worse when you have to send multiple emails because you forgot something in the first email, or you misspell the recipient’s name.
4. Watch your tone of voice
The problem with online communication versus face-to-face, is that things can be easily taken out of context or come off the wrong way.
Even if you aren’t meaning to sound rude or blunt in an email, sometimes the way you are putting it into words comes off that way to a reader. Make sure that even though you are trying to keep emails short and straight to the point, that you don’t lose the outward facing voice that represents your brand or business.
5. Include timelines and deadlines
When your inbox is overflowing with emails, it’s likely you’ll begin to prioritize. If an email doesn’t include a timeline or deadline, you’re suddenly making the email less urgent. Make sure to include timelines and deadlines into your email, this way you are holding the other person accountable for actually getting back to you in a timely fashion because they’ll understand your expectations too.
Email etiquette is often something that is missed, mainly because many of us weren’t properly trained or educated on email communication. Although it does seem simple and basic, we often lose sight of what makes an effective email. Follow these tips to make sure that the next time you send out an email, you are setting yourself up for success (and a response) rather than failure.
About the Author
Lauren Marinigh is a Toronto-based online marketing and content development professional, who is completely addicted to traveling, puppies, and GIFs.