Writing Effective Emails

Dear 3040 and Beyond:

Help! I’m in big trouble at work. I just graduated from college and I’m leading a really big project. I want to impress my boss, but he says my emails confuse everyone and that I’m basically doing everything wrong. I was afraid to ask what that means. I have to send out lots of complex information to the people on the project every week, so I can’t help writing so much! Do you have any advice about how to write a great email?

Signed,

New and Confused

Hi New and Confused! I am sorry for the issues that you have been having at work with your emails. I totally understand that you’re having troubles, especially because you are a trying to relay such dense information to your co-workers. I have a few pieces of advice that might help you in your situations.

Write Slow. This is one of the most important things that you can be conscious of when writing an email. Most of the time, you will have a lot of emails to read and even more emails write. You‘ll have deadlines to meet and people that need to hear from you quickly, but the truth is, when you write too fast, that’s when you encounter more issues. Forbes Magazine came out with an article that states the important parts about writing a good email and they also address writing slow. I think the one really valuable point they bring up is “It takes time to formulate your thoughts, to figure out what you’re actually trying to say, and to write your message out in a clear way. And ultimately, that’s what email is—a form of communication. Not a task.” When you are trying to write emails to your co-workers that have such dense information, take your time to write. It going to make your boss so much happier because I guarantee that your emails will make more sense and the thing that you’re doing wrong, will become much more apparent to you.

Know the Why. When your boss says the you’re doing things wrong, it may be because you aren’t stating the “why”. The entire point of sending emails is to get to the why or answer what the other individuals are asking. If you aren’t giving that to people in a timely manner email_marketing_copyin an email, it will definitely cause tension between you and others in your workplace. Think Simple Now wrote an article about the reasons to explain the ‘why’ and I really think that they would be beneficial to your situations. They explain, “People want to know “what do you need from me?” Answer this question quickly. Skip long introductions, backgrounds, compliments and details. Jump to the point. State it clearly using minimal words.” I am sensing that as you write your emails, your introductions are just as complex as the information that you are conveying. If you keep everything simple, except the complex data that you must share, I think your emails will change drastically and your boss will be very happy.

Don’t Be Scared. You mentioned that you are too afraid to ask for clarification on what your boss means. Although this isn’t technically advice regarding the email, I think it is extremely important to make sure that you have a strong line of communication with your boss. If you don’t, you’re going to continue to have more and more issue with them down the road in your career. Your Office Coach Online gives many many ways as to how accepting feedback can be beneficial to you. I think you will also be happy to see that by following those could really help you succeed in the office, and in your emails. Don’t be scared or discouraged- they want to help you and hired you for a reason.

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10 thoughts on “Writing Effective Emails

  1. I really like this post! Your information is all very useful and informal. Many times when I write I just throw all my thought down and don’t put much organization into it. By slowing down and organizing my thoughts I would be able to make things much more clear and flow a lot better. Especially in emails, which I typically don’t view as the most important writing, I fly through and put minimal effort into the writing. I also like how you said to “know the why.” When communicating with someone they are obviously most concerned with the reason why you are communicating them, so getting directly to the point will make them much happier.

  2. Hi! Great post. I thought your points are very valuable in writing emails. Particularly the write slow part. We often think that email is like a conversation, so we start writing and assume that we’ll figure out our point as we go along. I am as guilty as anyone on this. I rarely even reread my emails, let alone plan them out in advance. But, if you are writing about complex topics, its very important to make sure you’re as concise as possible. Its far easier to write slowly and re-read and even edit your email than it is to try to explain what you meant when someone doesn’t understand what you wrote.

    Great job!

    1. Hi Ben, thanks for reading my post! Writing slow can be such a struggle for me, and can sometimes lead to mistakes on my part. I am hoping that by realizing to write slower my writing will improve greatly.

  3. Taylor,

    I didn’t even think about the idea of writing slow. That can be so beneficial and help correct many errors in a business email. Taking the extra time to make sure all the information that is needed is in the email can help save various questions that may be asked by the reader of the email. Including the “why” in a business email is the most important information and is most likely the reason someone is sending you an email asking your opinion or answer on a topic. There is no problem asking for clarification from your boss. It can save time in the future and also builds a relationship with your boss that you can ask them anything and know that it is ok. Great post!

    Jake Gonzales

    1. Hi Jake, thanks for reading my post. Stating the “why” and writing slow can be so hard but I think if we can all make sure those are really points when we write, it can make a big difference.

  4. Taylor,

    You had a bunch of great information and a lot of good references. A lot of people worry about the how, but you focused on the why and I think that was a very good point. You also made a great point of writing slow and taking your time to read over things. Keep up the good work!

    Austin

  5. Writing slow is the most important thing for most people to do with their writing. Effective writing comes from being able to write correctly and accurately. By this, you must take your time and be able to communicate what you are saying with the audience. I thought your post was insightful and had many valuable points Taylor!

  6. Taylor,

    Great job giving tips and other relevant information that is helpful in writing an articulate email to others. I think it is very important to let the reader know why you are communicating with them, and what it is about. I read over several of your points and will use them in the future.

    -Aaron

  7. Taylor,

    You’re post was very helpful! I liked how you chose 3 main pieces of advice and built on each one. You’re advice to “write slow” is so simple yet so helpful and can really “save” you from ending up in troubled waters. If you just instantly respond to an email without thinking you can easily do something to hurt yourself in the long run. There are always people looking at everything you say and do, so something as simple as a grammar mistake or a addressing the wrong person can lead you down a dark road. It is important to take your time and look over the email before hitting send!

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