Remember when you write mails, no one has the time either. Follow these best practices to write effective business mails.
- Be concise: Draft your mail. Review it. Always. Have you stated what you want? Clearly? Remember, in all probability recipients may read just the first and last sentence. If your mail is short, recipients will read your mail. What’s better? They will respond.
- Give the Subject line the respect it deserves: Recipients have to sift through hundreds of mails. How do you ensure that recipients find your mail, say a month later? Subject lines are one of the easiest way to track mails. For example, if I were sending my CV to someone in HR. I’d rather say in my Subject line “CV of Urmilla Chandran, Technical Writer” rather than, “My CV”.
- Highlight main points and set reminders: People want to know what you want from them. Come to the point. It helps if you highlight main points, action items, and expected timelines. It helps further if you set reminders for recipients.
- Keep emotions out: Keep emotions for face-to-face meetings. Emotions do not come out well in mails. Imagine your state of mind if someone states in a mail, “I fail to understand how you could have overlooked such-and-such point. Were you asleep? Have you lost your mind?” As you can see, there’s every chance that issues get blown out of proportion. You don’t want to take that risk.
- Prefer a meeting over an exchange of 20 mails: Can you thrash out an issue or clarify your understanding over a subject better in one meeting rather than exchange 20 mails? If yes, just go meet the person or pick up the phone. It will save you and your recipient a lot of energy and bandwidth!
The author is co-founder and Director, Content Development at Steta