5 Keys To Improve Email Effectiveness

Smartphone With New E-Mail Message Notification Lying On Computer Keyboard

We use email both to communicate internally with our teams and externally with our prospects and social connections.  We have become increasingly dependent on email as our vehicle to communicate.  Today, while at work a person probably receives over 100 emails a day.  There are several keys to improve the effectiveness of your email.

Depending on the importance and severity of your message; email is not always the best method of communication.  But in the event that you are sending an email, here are some tips that can improve your email effectiveness.

The Preview Screen

E-Mail service

E-Mail service

Too many readers do not scroll down or past the preview screen.  Whether the view offers a first paragraph or just a few phrases,  the impression given in the preview screen creates a sense of the content of the email.  With this preview, the reader determines if they will keep reading or assume they have the key thought behind your message, and move on to the next item in their inbox.

Keeping this in mind, we can use email to communicate short announcements.  However, communication of policy changes and directions for teams in a webinar or meeting format may be more effective.  The webinar environment also supports questions and clarifications that can not be addressed in an email.

White Space Adds To Email Effectiveness

In addition to emails that run longer than the preview screen, be aware of run on sentences.  With limited or no punctuation you can leave your reader having trouble finding space to think or to breathe.

As you change ideas or directions with your email, add white space, an extra line or a return between sentences.  This highlights new ideas helping your reader have time to process ideas.

If they’re considering your idea or question.  The white space allows them to look away physically or virtually and still be able to pick back up where they were in your message.   Without the white space as a place holder,  the reader feels that they have to go back to the beginning of the email because they’ve lost their place.  Honestly, chances are if this happens, you’ve lost the reader and they probably won’t finish reading the email.

The Email Lecture

We have probably all survived the conversations where we can’t get a word in.  We can’t explain, or clarify because the frustration coming at us seems like a tsunami of anger.  This happens in our email communication as well.  The emotional experience of a tirade or outburst, where you don’t get to take a breath or offer your reasons or opinions is often experienced by email readers.

When we create the email account of a correction or virtual discipline, those endless paragraphs; first of all, won’t be read in its entirety.  This situation creates the virtual experience of not being able to defend, or explain because the author of the email continues to go on, and on without allowing for any other thoughts and opinions.

As mentioned earlier, email is sometimes not the appropriate media for some communications.

Email Embarrassment

Email Embarrassment

Forward and Reply All may be two of the most dangerous options in the email toolbox.  Forwarding an email carries with it, all of the comments and backstory from any previous contributors.  Equally volatile is the Reply all that may offer your personal opinions to your entire organization and more.

Email has changed the communication for every one and every organization

  • delivered 24/7 365 days
  • allows you to review and respond with your own timing
  • personal prioritize of incoming inquiries

We can leave a well explained question for the convenience of the receiver.  We can include greater detail, and options than the exhaustive frustration of voicemail.  Read receipt options also create the functionality to know if the email is delivered or reviewed..

Proofread and Review

The importance of  spelling, punctuation can be identified in a review.  Any communication still carries the potential for interpretation from the reader.  There is also the opportunity for them to add their own emotional perspective to the message.  This may or may not be on the same track as the author.  An email crafted in a hurry, and with emotional baggage all too often has lingering and embarrassing results.

Email is a key component in business communication.  Often, an email has replaced the official business letter treating it with the same respect will improve your email effectiveness.

Lori Hammond
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