Communication is the cornerstone of all great business relationships. However, communication as a skill has become increasingly difficult to master in the digital age. In this blog, we’re going to clue you in on 7 simple email writing hacks that can help you become a more effective communicator.
So we’ve all experienced #EmaiFail, you send an email to a colleague, client or supplier and the response you receive isn’t exactly what you were hoping for. Or worse yet – no response! Communication has broken down thanks to the almighty keyboard. While the pen may be mightier than the sword, the keyboard can sometimes cause catastrophe!
While the hypothesis that ‘93% of communication is non-verbal’ is overused and untrue in this context, we have to remember that we are an emotive bunch and we miss a lot of context when we send and receive only written messages. And no, no number of emojis will help you either! 🚫 💬 ⌨ 🤔
So What’s Going Wrong?
Basically we’re becoming more technologically connected and less physically connected. That’s not a bad thing, but it does bring with it a new challenge. How do beings, which evolved to understand language, tone, body language and facial expressions, learn to cope in a world of binary code and letters?
One thing that’s important to understand is that some people are very good at communicating digitally, others are not. Some are great at reading and understanding, some are not. So our challenge is to make our communications more user-friendly.
7 Email Writing Hacks
1) Be subject savvy. Don’t be too brief with your email subject, and never leave it blank. The subject line needs to outline the email as well as give an idea of the urgency of am email. If you do have an urgent email, don’t be tempted to just title it ‘Urgent!’ or ‘Important!’, share a little more, ‘Urgent! Break-in at the office’ – the context will ensure the email is opened and dealt with as quickly as possible.
2) KISS – keep it simple, stupid! Don’t overcomplicate your communications. Sure it’s fine to have some friendly remarks, but don’t litter your communications with pleasantries. We’re all busy, and frankly reading an essay while 200 emails pile up in your inbox is less than appealing. Try sticking to the five sentence rule. In every email you send today, try stripping it down to 5 sentences only. Here’s an example of your new concise structure: 1) Who you are, 2) What you want, 3) Why you need it, 4) What you need them to do, 5) Sign-off.
3) Bullet points. If more information is absolutely necessary, then try adding a bullet pointed list. Bullet points can be especially helpful if you require an answer from a multiple choice style question.
4) Send one email per request. Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you email someone a list of tasks they come back to you with the first and last task, forgetting all the ones in between? Solve this problem by giving each request a new email. People often use their email inbox as a to-do list, so this will help the person you’re emailing to keep track of all requests, ensuring your tasks are not forgotten and filed away.
5) Your sing-off matters! Industry standard sign-offs, such as ‘Kind Regards’ or ‘Yours truly’, are all fine and well. But if you want a response fast, there is a clear winner, according to Boomerang who studied the response rates of 350,000 emails. While the average response rate for all emails came to 47.5%, the clear winner with a response rate of 65.7% was…. ‘Thanks in advance’. While some would say it’s presumptuous to thank in advance, psychologically it does work, the reader feels obliged to reply as they’ve already received thanks for doing so.
6) Because. It turns out that one of our biggest email faux-pas is not explaining why we need something. If you include the word ‘because’ you’ll find that you receive more compliant responses, and perhaps even more than you’ve asked for as the recipient will know what you need and why – perhaps they have a better solution.
7) 123. Use numbers in your email and write them as numerals rather than words. Numerals have been shown to be able to stop a scanning eye, as numbers are often representative of data so the recipients mind will stop and focus on these numbers.
How Will These Email Writing Hacks Help Me?
Using these simple writing hacks can help you get your work done more efficiently and effectively. Time = money, so don’t waste yours on poor communication efforts.