- Have a clear call to action
A lot of emails, even ones with good information, leave the reader saying, “Okay, so? What is it you want me to do?”Don’t let this happen to you. It’s not enough to just lay out a bunch of data. You’ve got to tell the person (or department) you’re writing exactly what you want done, with a brief account of the parameters involved. Something like this:
Got a favor to ask. We need some of the info from this month’s report. Specifically, here’s what we’re after:
Don’t worry about any of the other info in the report. Please send to us by 2 p.m. today or call us at 555-555-1050 if there are any problems.
- Item 1
- Item 2
- Item 3
- Be nice
Why? What if I don’t? What are you gonna do about it? Huh? Huh?? Oh, for heaven’s sake—just be nice. Writing emails provides a great opportunity to exercise the Golden Rule. After all, would you want to read an email like this:
Hey—we in HR need those files we asked for this morning. Send them NOW. What’s your problem? We know you don’t do anything down there anyway. Get on the stick!
Oh, sure, HR—we’ll get right on that.
Is it really so hard to put it this way:
Hi, it’s Peggy from HR. Could you please send us the new hire files we discussed this morning? Sorry for the rush, but we can’t process the new applicants without this information.
- Never send forwarded email without a valid business reason
If you’re at work, do you really want to spend your time reading about the latest call to action for some activist organization? Or are you particularly interested in reading the latest jokes from some lame website?
Stick to business. Keep it concise, intelligible, courteous, and let the email recipient know exactly what you want—with contact info for any necessary clarification. Your co-workers will appreciate it! And for a bit of extra help, contact Proof-Reading.com.