Effective emails


Email messages are different from other written messages. They are not formally structured like a letter or as short as phone messages. Here are some suggestions for making your emails more readable by your correspondents.

• Email suits shorter messages on a single topic rather than longer messages on a variety of subjects. There are times when it’s better to split the emails into separate ‘threads’ for each sub-topic.

• Try to make your subject lines clear and helpful.

• If you’re emailing a company, putting a short description of your enquiry can help direct your email to the right person. Messages with a subject like ‘Help’ or ‘It doesn’t work’ don’t shed any light on the matter.

• Long subject lines can be hard or impossible to read.

• In business letters and personal letters you can have some opening remarks before getting down to the main topic. That doesn’t work very well with 21st century software or people.

• Most people don’t fully open emails, rather they use the side pane to look at most messages and prioritise them. .

• People are busy these days with many more communications arriving in all sorts of ways. If your emails don’t get to the point quickly, they might not be read at all.

• Whenever possible, keep the formatting of your emails simple.

• It’s safer to stick with a white background and avoid coloured backgrounds.

• In emails, avoid those nifty fonts you’ve bought or downloaded. Stick to the standard and commonly used fonts. — HNS