The art of effective emailing

1 Jun 2017

It might seem simple, but how many times have you received an email only to have to go and locate other email chains to find relevant details? With a daily barrage of emails flying back and forth between clients, media and your colleagues, sending a clear and concise email with all of the details included is becoming increasingly important. Here’s how to do it:

Clear subject lines

What is this email about? And is it timely? An email subject can and should be as direct as possible – more so even than a press release title. This helps everyone save time searching later. The subject line can also be changed to cater to different media. Even though the email content might be very similar, a specific subject line might increase the likelihood of it getting read faster.

Bad: On Sharks and Humanity media preview
Better: Invite: Landmark contemporary art exhibition On Sharks and Humanity – media preview 23/6 @ 7pm

It’s okay to repeat yourself
In every email, I try to repeat the essential details. So instead of a quick one-line reminder of an event, send through the details very clearly so that clients or media jumping into a taxi don’t need to wade through the whole chain for the address. If you’re trying to get something approved, put it back into the body and attach it again. Assume your recipient hasn’t read through the whole thread, so including all of the details again will make getting a reply faster.

Make yourself available
Having an updated email signature makes it easy when clients or media need to call you on the fly to make sure they have the correct address, to ask for directions or to let you know they’re going to be a little late. By allowing media to reach you, they might add you to their contacts and pop you off a quick message the next time they’re looking for a lead. Be accessible.

Don’t be afraid to be clear
If using bullet points or numbering makes all of the action points come across smoother then go for it. Sometimes seeing the tasks or questions listed plainly can make it easier for the recipient to make a decision or see the overall tactical steps.

If it’s a lengthy email, go back and cut 50 words
This was the simplest and most memorable email communication advice I received from a seminar given by Global Executive Coach Mary Rezek. There’s always a way to be more concise. Re-read your email and cut out the redundancy that you missed on the first draft attempt. Remember: clarity is key.

Always include the '5 Ws' when sending emails, and update subject lines - this is so often forgotten when searching through a flooded inbox

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