The inbox situation for most managers is dire: memos, receipts, and meeting notes can make it nearly impossible to read every email thoroughly. So, if you’re sending important information via email, you need to make sure you’re writing in a way that doesn’t get ignored in the chaos. By following the rules below, you can make sure you’re grabbing attention and communicate clearly next time you email your team.
Rule #1: Know Your Main Point and Get to It Fast
If you had to sum up your email’s purpose in one sentence, what would it be? That’s the information you need to get out in the first sentence or two of your email. Make sure people know why they’re reading this and why they should read further. Instead of rambling about how great your last meeting was, say “I’m reaching out to make concrete plans for the client meeting idea Sarah had. I’ve outlined the main steps we need to take next below.” Colleagues will appreciate your brevity and will be much more likely to read the rest of your email if they see you aren’t wasting their time on small talk.
Rule #2: Use Bullet Points to Make Things Rescan-abletrong>
Ever opened an email and encountered a huge block of text with little delineation between ideas? Avoid giving your email recipients a headache by breaking up concepts into digestible chunks. If you’re including any sort of list – concerns, tasks, or comments – separate them out into bullet points. This will help make your email more scan-able and will get your point across more clearly. Use a numbered list for any tasks that need to happen in a certain order, or simple bullets to separate out distinct ideas.
Rule #3: Put People’s Names in Bold
If part of the email is directed at a specific team member, put their name in bold so they see it right away. People will pay attention when they see their own name, plus it helps the person zero in on the most important part of the email for them. Even if you have a separate paragraph or bullet point for each team member, putting their name in bold will pique their attention so they read further.
The best thing to do next is given these three rules a whirl. Try them out on your next email and see how your contacts respond. Soon you’ll realize that you’ve created more engaging communication that helps you and your team exchange information clearly, concisely, and productively.