Tips for writing effective e-mail

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Email is a wonderful communication tool — it is speedy, efficient, asynchrous, the “conversation” is documented, you may communicate with more than one person at a time, and much more. However, for the same reasons, there are a few tips you may be aware of.

email 4Write a meaningful subject line. Subject lines are headlines, just like headlines in a newspaper. A meaningful and descriptive headline will grab the recipient’s attention, and help him/her decide what to do with the message. Make sure the subject line concisely summarizes the message’s content.

Be sure that the recipient instantly knows who you are. When writing email to someone who don’t know you, include your name, occupation, and other important information in the first sentences, followed by a statement telling the recipient why you are sending the email.

Remember to sign the message with your name, position, company name, and possibly other contact information in case the recipients would like to reply via other means.

Only one topic in email message. To make it easier for recipients (and yourself) to direct messages to different folders and search for them at a later time, try to limit the email to one topic.

email 2

Be courteous, spare the CAPS, and leave out emotions. It is a good rule to start with the recipient’s name, and to close the message with a “Regards” or “Best regards”. Include an appropriate signature so the recipient will understand clearly who you are. Add your email address just in case your address will not appear in the “From” field. Avoid whole sentences in CAPS.

Try to anticipate possible responses.To avoid many back-and forth of messages when asking for something, give the recipient clear options using “if…then”, “if…so” and “if…not”. That will enable the recipient to reply clearly to your questions, and then it will not be necessary with follow-up questions.

In the end, Do not write messages when you are low-tempered. If you feel that it is difficult to find the right words, make a draft and sleep on it. Don’t send messages you wouldn’t like to see published.

Anja Dobranić

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