On occasion, I receive emails that are unclear in what the sender is trying to say to me. Sometimes the subject line is vague, other times, it is the content of the email that is unclear. As a result, this creates confusion and frustration on both sides of the conversation. Sad news for the sender of the email, isn’t it? =( I know I hate it when I am misunderstood or don’t receive a response.
To prevent this confusion, I like to take a few minutes after I draft an email to read over it and ask myself these questions to make sure what I am sending makes sense and is clear. Here are tips on making emails more effective before posting.
Questions To Ask Before Sending An Email
1. Question to ask yourself about the Subject line:
- What is the overall meaning of the email? These emails may be deleted by accident if it is too vague.
2. Questions to ask yourself about To: and CC: section line:
- Does this person need to receive this email? Is it easier for me to call them than write out the entire email?
- Does everyone in the To: and CC: section need to receive this email? Why do they need to receive this email?
3. Questions to ask after writing the content:
- Most important: Reread emails before sending it. Is there meaning in the email? Does the email explain the request or issue?
- Is any word misspelled or misused? Will there be a misunderstanding in any section of the email? Not using commas or missing spelling words can create an entirely different message. We wouldn’t want that, especially, in a business email.
- If there are several questions, use bullets or numbers for each question. Make the questions short and to the point. Explain the reason why you need the information in one or two sentences.
- Set up the automatic spell checker to check emails every time before they get sent out. This feature will catch 95% of the spelling errors.
- Did you use the right word for the sentences? Grammarly app will help you with that! You can even install it on your Microsoft Outlook. Buy it here. (affiliate)
- When you request information from the recipient, include a due date or completion date. This step will help them determine when they can finish the project. If you don’t have a due date, be sure to indicate that there’s no rush. This step will help the people who tend to do things right away not to focus too much on the task requested.
- Include all the information and link(s) the receipts need to know. Missing data will only prolong the requested information.
Tip: Determine what day of the week and time of day will work most efficiently for your recipient to receive and respond to emails. They may check their email only once a day, once a week, or only on weekends. They may check it only at 9:00 or at lunchtime. This step will help in deciding when to send a request and when receiving a response is probable. Read more about Quick Tips For More Effective Time With Email.
Making emails more effective is respectful to the recipient. I was told by my English Professor, when writing, always write, not for you, but for the reader. Write the way you would speak to a person who does not know you or what you are writing. The content is much more transparent and more efficient.
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