Writing emails properly - saving yourself and other people time

A few days ago, I blogged about Managing Email and getting stuff done, and in doing so suggested that a significant issue that creates more email than necessary is poorly written emails.

Allow me to rant: I can't tell you how much it gets up my nose how the vast majority of people use their CrackBerry - punching out one line answers to complex issues as if merely replying solved the issue. I've got news for you - it doesn't! All it does is create more emails to try to clarify what wasn't addressed properly the first time.

You can save yourself a tonne of time by thinking about what you are writing and doing it properly the first time. Granted, this doesn't guarantee others will automatically reciprocate, but it does raise the chances.

Back when I enter my first corporate job with JP Morgan, I was pretty confused as to the conversational style most people used for email. Email was pretty new to the masses and everyone was learning how to use it.

I can't remember the book I read but it was on effective writing and not specific to emails and it's value was in it's simplicity. It had all the key tips including:
The book was actually geared towards getting what you wanted done i.e. have people read the email and take the action you wanted.

Seth outlines a good checklist here, and whilst it is largely written with respect to who you are emailing and why, there are some good questions you need to ask such as:
Another good piece from Seth worth leveraging is Write like a blogger.

I really wish I could find that book... it think it was Effective Business Writing :(A Guide For Those who Write On the Job).


posted by Lee Gale @ 3:40 AM,


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