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The art of email-writing: 5 rules to consider

Presenting an Effective Message This article is based on the free eBook “Presenting an Effective Message”

Can you honestly think of somebody who doesn’t use emails at work? Electronic communication has become a key part of day-to-day business. This is why you should know how to maximize your email effectiveness. The following guidelines can make you much more effective when writing an email or memo. Take a look!


  • When you are writing an email, you should start by remembering that you only have about five seconds to capture your reader’s audience. Most people will scan an email or letter rather than read it carefully. Knowing this, you can structure your message in a way that will be more likely to get the important information across to the reader.


  • In many cases, we feel we need to explain why we are writing before getting to the main point. That is how you risk losing the reader in the details before you get to the main point. Instead, you want to start with the main point, even if you go back to the details once you’ve mentioned the main point. Remember: You only have about five seconds to capture your reader’s audience.


  • Secondly, in an email and in a memo, you have the opportunity to use the subject line to your best advantage. Using the subject line well will help prevent important information from being missed. The subject line should be specific and should indicate whether or not a response is needed by the reader. Here are some examples of good subject lines: “Board Meeting: Your Response Needed RE Time and Location”, or “Update: Changes to Billing Processes Starting in 10 Days.”


  • When you write a message, it’s always a good idea to ask someone else to read it to ensure that your message is clear. They can also help you identify any grammar or other errors that you might have made. You cannot rely on spell check programs to do all of the proofreading for you. They may catch incorrect spelling but they can’t determine when you have used the wrong word. Also check for formatting errors, such as equidistant spacing, bullets lined up straight, etc. There is nothing that kills your message’s effectiveness (and your credibility) as quickly as simple oversights like these.


  • Finally, there comes a time in many written exchanges when you would be more effective to switch to a phone call or an in-person meeting. These situations include: Multiple responses that result in a ‘conversation’ taking place in writing, when the recipient only replies to a portion of your written message, or when there is the possibility of hurt feelings or anger over the message.


You can find more guidelines on how to write an email in “Presenting an Effective Message” written by MTD Training.