by Dee Dukehart (used by permission)
I continue to see emails, blogs, articles, and other documents written with little regard for the reader. This post gives you Seven tools to enhance your email writing, your messages, and your ideas.
- Always use a salutation: Dear, Greetings, Happy Monday, Hi; any one of these is the polite way to engage your reader. After several threads with internal readers, yes, you can forget the formality and answer or reply with no salutation.
- Write a specific subject line: e.g.: “Next Thursday, 2/16/17, Marketing Committee Meeting” and not just “Meeting.” Then type in the specifics in the body.
- Use complete sentences. This is not a text message, nor a tweet; use subject, verb, object. It’s the professional way to write.
- Hook your readers with a compelling first sentence. Instead of: “I’m writing you to inform you about our new vacation policy.” (The reader knows you’re writing about this because it’s in the paragraph.) Recommended: “One more week! Your new vacation policy entitles you to one more week…!”
- Know your audience. Who are your readers? Internal? External? International? New to your industry? A combination? Do they have the same language, vocabulary and knowledge that you do?Never assume your readers understand your internal jargon or acronyms; write in simple and clear language.
- Use correct grammar, punctuation, and syntax. When you find yourself questioning the correct way to write or punctuate your sentence either ask the department grammarian – there’s usually one around – or look it up. You might need a refresher in the rules and it’s best to get it right the first time.
- Proofread. I know I’m guilty of pressing the “send” button only to find out that I’ve misspelled a word, left out a punctuation mark, or used a “you” instead of a “your,” etc. It’s embarrassing! It also makes your reader think you don’t care.
Take an extra minute or two to re-read what you’ve written.
Always write for the reader!
Dee Dukehart is a business writing trainer whose tag line is Designing and Building Clear, Crisp, Comprehensive Word Pictures. She can be contacted at Dee@DeeDukehart.com
What essential email tips would you add to Dee’s list? List them here.