Improving Inner-Office Communication by Writing Effective Emails
Could your business benefit from improved communication? Have you ever seen time wasted by ineffective communication? My bet is that anyone who has spent a week in an office environment would answer yes to both of these questions, and I’d like to help.
The purpose of this article is to offer insight on how to improve communication in your organization by simply writing more effective emails.
Before I dive in, I’d like to explain where I’m coming from. When I meet someone new and they ask me what I do, I most likely will have to qualify my answer of “I’m a copywriter.” Truthfully, I didn’t even know what a copywriter was when I first heard about the job. I’ve found that the best way to describe what I do is through explaining that I research and analyze information and then find the most clear and effective way to convey that information. But more importantly, I must communicate information in a way that best suits and benefits the organization it pertains to. Effective communication is very important to me, and I’ve learned that the ability to be clear and direct is valuable in nearly every facet of life.
So, let’s talk emails:
Be Generous with Background Details
Assuming that your reader knows and understands the situation behind your email can be detrimental to your communication and waste a lot of time. Begin your email by giving an appropriate amount of background information to orient the reader to what they’re about to process.
Make Good Use of the Subject Line
Using the subject line to pinpoint the purpose of the email helps the reader prioritize their time and stay organized. For example, take these two subject lines: “Important – Please Read” and “Client’s Request for Monday Meeting.” Using the subject line to clearly communicate the purpose of the email allows the reader to decide when they need to read it. Furthermore, your employee will be able to easily find the email again when they need to reference it, instead of having to search through 15 saved emails that all say “Important – Please Read.”
Keep it Short and Sweet
How many times have you skimmed an email looking for the point and replied as soon as you found it without reading the rest of the email? I’m guilty. Respect your reader’s time by stating the purpose and point of the email as soon as possible and avoid inserting unnecessary information. Details that don’t pertain to the subject of the message should be sent in a separate email.
Another way to improve your chances of the email being read entirely is by effectively using paragraph breaks. One long message without any spacing is unpalatable and just plain hard on the eyes. On social media channels, statuses containing less than eighty characters get the most likes and exposure. That underlined sentence has eighty characters, and I think there’s a valuable lesson to be learned from Facebook user behavior.
Use the Manners Your Mama Taught Ya
This may seem silly, but it makes a difference when you begin your emails with ‘Hi (their name),’ and end them with ‘Thanks.’ It’s just courteous and everyone responds well to courtesy. Think about it, you wouldn’t walk up to a colleague or employee without at least greeting them and just begin spouting out information. It takes two seconds, and it shows you value and respect your reader.
What Are Your Biggest Email Pet Peeves?
Just for fun, I polled colleagues and friends for their biggest email pet peeves. Here are the top 5 answers I received:
- ‘Replying all’ when the message doesn’t pertain to everyone
- Not ‘replying all’ when someone should’ve been included in the email
- Getting the same email multiple times
- Getting a forwarded email with no explanation
- Receiving an email without any background information
My challenge, for myself and every business person, is to take just a few moments before and after every email you send and assess how you have conveyed the information. Was the point of the email clear? What additional information does my reader need to effectively act on this email? Was I respectful and courteous?
I believe that we will all see an improvement in communication within our offices by using these easy email tips.
Meet Your Copywriter
I’m Hannah Jones and I am a Copywriter at M&R Marketing Group. Every day I get to use language to portray an important aspect of a business, define an owner’s vision for their company, or attract new clients through fun and catchy phrases. Words are my thing, and marketing is a perfect avenue for me to help businesses express themselves creatively and skillfully through words. I am passionate about writing, and I hope this series is helpful as you seek thoughtful ways to improve your written communication and business as a whole.