Writing Great Emails–Making Sure You’re Understood

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) In theory: Used before something that is just a good idea, but not true.

In theory, the project should have cost $500,000 and been completed by July.

(2) In Practice: Used before describing how it actually works.

In practice, the project has cost over $1,000,000 and it’s still not done.

(3) Tip: A helpful idea

Let me give you a tip: don’t go home before your boss.

Today’s

Questions

1. Why should you write shorter emails?

a. They’re easier to write.

b. They’re easier to understand.

c. You have to be less careful.

2. Why should you write short sentences?

a. They’re easier to write.

b. They’re easier to understand.

c. You have to be less careful.

3. Why is it good to put a summary at the start of a long email?

a. The email will be easier to write.

b. The email will be easier to understand.

c. The email will seem carefully written.

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Writing Great Emails

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En-velop_bleu

By Jeremy Schaar

Managers often use emails to communicate with their employees. Unfortunately, it’s a hard thing to do. In theory, it should be as simple as writing the important information in an email and hitting send. In practice, emails aren’t read carefully. People read quickly. Or they don’t read at all.

A wise man once said: “Anyone who says that they’re great at communicating but ‘people are bad at listening’ is confused about how communication works.”

So, if your employees don’t remember things you wrote, don’t blame them. Instead, write better emails.

Here are five tips for doing that:

1. Write a short email. If you write several paragraphs, people won’t read them carefully.

2. Write short sentences. People can’t remember too many things at one time. If a sentence has too many ideas, it’ll be hard to understand. Here’s an example of a bad sentence:

The marketing report I was supposed to send on Tuesday, while you were out of the office, but it’s not done and has to be finished before Mr. Smith returns from his honeymoon in Las Vegas.

That sentence has too many ideas. By the time you read “Las Vegas”, you’ve forgotten about the marketing report. Probably, you can delete some unimportant stuff. If everything is important, then make it into more sentences.

I was supposed to send the marketing report on Tuesday. You were out of the office, but it’s not done. It has to be finished before Mr. Smith returns from his honeymoon in Las Vegas.

Those periods make it much easier to read and understand.

3. Say the important stuff first. If something is really important, say it in the first sentence.

4. Choose good subjects. If the email is all about the marketing report, then the subject should be: Marketing Report. Be simple and clear.

5. For longer emails, start with a summary of the whole email. You can even make a list. For example:

I have a lot to talk about. In this email, I’ll cover the schedule for the product release, the expense budget, and what you need to prepare by Friday.

Next week, you’ll get five more tips to make sure people understand you.

Want more practice? Got questions? Comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

B, B, B

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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