8 Tips For Better Emails

Let’s start with some interesting statistics about email I found recently –

  • Ray Tomlinson is credited as being the first person to hit send on a network email message.
  • The term spam is widely thought to have come from a Monthy Python sketch where Vikings chanted it endlessly.
  • It is estimated more than 2.8 million emails are sent every second, 90 trillion are sent in a year.
  • An average email is about 75KB.
  • A typical person sends between 60 and 200 email messages per day.

And yet, we know most emails are poorly written, are hard to read, say little, and are a waste of time. Here are 8 tips to help you ensure that the emails you send actually provide value to the reader.

Be Prompt in Your Response. Be aware of and sensitive to the needs of the sender and respond accordingly. Respond to private messages if even to say “I’ll get back to you as soon as possible” when you are unable to respond as quickly as needed.

Limit Your Distribution. Limit the number of people on the distribution list to those who need to have the information. Don’t automatically reply to everyone on the distribution list of a message. It wastes the time of people who will not be interested in what you say to the sender. Also, check to see if you were blind copied. If you were blind copied the sender probably doesn’t want the rest of the addresses to know you were sent a copy.

Don’t Be Redundant. When forwarding or replying to a message with an attachment, don’t just automatically include the attachment. Think about the necessity of it consider that everyone has already received the attachment. Share the specific data you want to comment on in the text of your email so the reader doesn’t have to find the file.

Use simple text messages whenever possible. The simplest and most efficient means of E-Mail communication is a text message without attachments. Get to your point quickly. If you can’t say what you want to say simply, pick up the phone or set up a face-to-face meeting and talk directly with the person.

Limit the Number of Attachments. Limit the number of attachments to no more than 3. If you need to send more than 3, first get permission from the person you are sending the email to.

Avoid Large Sized Files.  Be sensitive to the amount of information being sent. To avoid sending unnecessary large files, let the recipients know that the large files will not be sent except upon request.

Avoid sarcasm and/or jokes in your messages. Without spoken and nonverbal cues, there is an increased likelihood that the message may be misinterpreted.

Avoid embarrassment. Don’t send messages that would cause embarrassment if made public. When responding to a controversial subject, compose the message, let it sit for 24 hours, then come back and read it again before hitting the send button.

How You Can Help

Leave a comment or share a funny story about your experience with email. I am sure I missed a number of tips, so any you have would be great to share so we can all benefit from a more complete list.

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