People are very busy nowadays and almost everyone has a hard time keeping up with their email Inboxes. Even business email can easily be ignored or deleted by a harried reader.
To make sure your email gets read and brings you the results you need, follow the following advice:
Make your subject line descriptive.
Give your business email a subject line that describes what the it is really all about. Your business email may get ignored or, worse, deleted because its subject line is too vague. Review the subject line particularly when you’re forwarding an email. The original subject line may have been relevant to you, but not to the person you’re forwarding the email to.
Also indicate the urgency of your email with words like, “Urgent” or “Important” or “Your Action Needed” — but don’t say an email is urgent when it isn’t; your reader will not believe you in the future.
Keep it short.
Respect your reader’s time by keeping your business email short. A good rule of thumb is to make sure the entire email can be read without scrolling down the computer screen.
This will vary from one computer to the other, but use your own screen as a guide. Give access to background information through attachments or links to files on the office network or Internet.
Get to the point early.
People who read on computer screens tend to scan the text instead of reading through it straight. Therefore, don’t write a long introduction; get to the point within the first 2 paragraphs.
Make it clear what action the reader needs to take and when it is required. Make the required action a separate one-sentence paragraph, in bold. This will set it off from the rest of the text.
Make your email easy on the eyes.
Reading from a computer screen strains the eyes more than reading printed paper. Make your business email easier to read by:
- using sans serif font, such as Arial, Helvetica and Verdana. Serif fonts like Times New Roman. In contrast, serif fonts are better in printed text.
- making your text a minimum of 12 points.
- breaking up long sentences into short ones, and long paragraphs into short ones
- using plenty of white space
- using bullet points
Summarize before ending.
Before signing off, conclude with a 1-sentence summary of your business email. Re-state what action you need the reader to take after reading your email, and by when.
Carefully select whom you copy
Before clicking the “Send” button, go over the addresses in the Cc box. Do all those people really
need a copy of your business email? If you keep sending people messages that are irrelevant to them, they’ll soon disregard anything that comes from you.
Ask yourself if a phone call or even a personal visit would be better than a business email. Get off your chair once in a while and walk to the other person’s office. You’ll be doing your body a favor and improving office relations.
Business email is an indispensable part of daily work. By keeping the needs of your reader in mind, you can make yours stand out and deliver the results you need.