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Do's and don't's of effective emails

Email is for convenience. Your reader should be able to find the information they need quickly and easily. These do's and don't's will add effectiveness to your emails. They guide you to write a business email that works.

Effective communicators don't write emails, they compose them

Are you guilty?

Here are some e-mailing don’t's for you to avoid. See how many of these don't's you do.

  1. Don’t make your reader search for information.
  2. Don’t write long paragraphs.
  3. Don’t make your reader guess what you want from them.
  4. Don’t make your reader search for your contact info.
  5. Don’t make your reader guess what you are referring to.
  6. Don’t send your email without proofreading it first.
  7. Don’t fire off a response without reflection, especially if you’re emotionally invested.
  8. Don’t forward jokes and articles indiscriminately.
  9. Don’t type your message in all caps.
  10. Don’t keep the same subject line when changing the topic in a reply.
  11. Don’t use email when things get emotional.

Are you on top of it already?

An important principle of The SpeakSTRONG Method is to talk more about what you want than what you don't want. Here are your emailing do's. 

  1. Do use the subject line to indicate contents and desired actions.
  2. Do place important information where the reader can find it immediately.
  3. Do write short paragraphs.
  4. Do determine that every pronoun (he, it etc) has a referent. For longer messages, do open with an overview of the contents.
  5. Do separate different ideas with paragraphs, or send in separate emails.
  6. Do use headers, bullets, and other formatting to separate ideas.
  7. Do use a signature file with contact information.
  8. Do summarize your message with action steps.
  9. Do review your email before hitting send.
  10. Do pick up the phone when things get confusing or emotional and talk directly.
  11. Do use PowerPhrases in your emails.

Here are some sample Power Phrases to use in your emails:

  • Here’s an overview of this message.
  • The purpose of this email is…Please respond by (action)…
  • Please contact me at…
  • Examples of bad emails are everywhere.

Get your emails read and get the response you want

I confess, I don’t have to look farther than my own sent box for examples of bad emails. There are those which assume my reader can read my mind. There are those which have nothing to do with the subject line, because the topic changed long ago. There even are a few alerts that turned out to be false. But the more you and I follow the do's and don’t's of e-mailing, the more we will overcome barriers to effective communication through email. These are the steps to effective business emails that turn email into a resource of convenience.

.prods-books-thumbs-powerFor more information on how to write effective emails read the article: Read these five tips before you send your next email and get my PowerPhrases! book. 

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