5 Rules To Writing The Best Email

Best way to reach me? Twitter.  Right now it’s the best way to reach me because my twitter feed is up most of the day and even if it isn’t you can reach me via Direct Message.  As much as I would love for everyone to be on Twitter I know I still have to rely on other mediums such as emails to plan meetings, talk to ministers and notify parents of upcoming meetings and events.
The problem with emails is that I get too many of them and most of them are poorly written.  They are long, unfocused or unreadable.  If you want to stay out of someone’s spam folder and have your emails actually read, you need to know the art.  Here are five steps to writing an effective email.

  1. Be Simple And Clear In The Subject Lines: Sometimes people get a little too creative.  Subject lines need to communicate why the reader should care.  This might be your only shot at communicating to your target audience, so don’t dress it up with false statements like, “THIS IS REALLLLLLY IMPORTANT!!!!!” and don’t list it high priority to get them to read it, just tell them, “Updates On January Ski Trip.”
  2. Communicate One Thing At A Time: Too many times I see too many topics in one email.  When you do this the end result is a cancellation of information.  Pick a point, focus and drive it home.  If you have something else to write about, save it for another email or another form of communication.
  3. Avoid The Scroll Button: If I have to scroll down to read your email you’ve lost my interest.  Fit it to the page and you’ll show the reader that you are focused and to the point.  Giving yourself this limitation is a great practice to getting your message across as clear and concise as possible.
  4. Use Appropriate Font: If it looks bizarre it goes in the SPAM folder, I just don’t have time figuring out what the yellow wording on white background is attempting to communicate.  My recommendations is Times Font at a size 11, you don’t have to use that, but if you go too fancy you’ll just frustrate your readers.
  5. Lists Are Nice: If you do have a lot to communicate list it out instead of writing it all in a paragraph.  When you can scan through material it allows you to communicate in an efficient manner.  If you feel something is important you’ll dive deeper into it, but when you list you create better readability.

Before you write any email you should ask yourself, “Is this the best way to communicate my message?”  Sometimes all it takes is a phone call or text.  Because everyone has email we need to be more intentional and considerate with how we use it.  Technology doesn’t fix problems it just accelerates us to a solution or a problem.  If you are poor at communicating all email will do is expose that hole.  And no one has time for a poor communicator.

What tips do you have for writing effective emails?


What bothers you the most about emails?

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  • Rachel Blom says:

    What bothers me is when I ask people three questions in an email and they only answer two. Drives me crazy, because now I have to send another email with that same question again. Total waste of time!

  • Rachel, it does get frustrating, or when you send an email asking for assistance and someone uses it as an opportunity to critique you on a totally different manner.
    Do you think there is a way of preventing that?