Write better emails
By Jim LaDoux
If time is people’s most valuable resource, consider ways you can write emails that are easier to read, shorter to write, and quicker to reply to. Here are a few suggestions I'd offer:
- Name the main point early. Determine ahead of time what is the main point of the email. What do you want people to remember or do? Name your main point in the subject line of the email or else within the first paragraph
- Avoid sending “book” emails. Keep in mind that the longer your emails are, the less likely that they will be read. A pet peeve of mine when reading emails is having to read a page or more of content to find out that I really didn’t need to read or respond to the email.
- Only send to people that need to know. There are times when one needs to “copy all” and there are times when only a few people need to be in the loop. Decide ahead of time who needs to receive the email before sending a message to an entire distribution list.
- Use bullet points to highlight main ideas or action steps. Bullet points are easier to read than paragraphs and I find that people seem to remember the core content better. Plus, they’re usually quicker to write than most paragraphs that say essentially the same thing.
- For longer emails, provide an open summary. This will help people understand what’s in the rest of the email, and if it needs to read and responded to right away.
- Provide all the necessary details in one email. People shouldn’t have to read multiple threads in order to respond appropriately. When writing emails, think like a journalist, providing the who, what, where, when and how in a concise paragraph. Provide supporting documents such as attachments (make sure they’re not too big) that are in formats that most people can open.
- Use the subject line to get quicker a response. The first thing a recipient sees is the subject line. Use the subject line to tell people what you need from them, and by when. I usually scan the subject lines of my inbox emails to determine which emails are most important and most urgent.
- Personalize mass emails. It takes longer to customize and send individual emails rather than mass emails, but people’s response rate will triple as a result of the personalized approach.
- Proofread the email. Before hitting the send button, read your email out loud. How does it sound to you? Does it convey what you intended? Are there obvious grammatical or spelling errors? Do the sentences seem to flow well? Are there any words or sentences you could eliminate and still make your point? You’ll lose some readers if it is not a tightly written email.
- Make it easy for people to follow up. Provide your contact info in your digital signature. If they need to call you, let people know when you’re available. Also avoid capital letters and fonts that are hard to read. Avoid anything that gets in the way of people responding quickly.
QUESTIONS | APPLICATIONS
- What suggestions would you offer to ensure that your emails get read?
- How could you make better use of your subject lines?
- Do you make it clear to your recipients what you want them to do with the email?
Developing the skill of curiosity
September 18th, 2023
The 3 phases of navigating change
September 13th, 2023
Tips for creating live training events
September 11th, 2023
Administering congregational surveys
September 10th, 2023
Creating Atomic Habits (Part 1)
September 9th, 2023
The art of using direct communication
August 31st, 2023
Expanding Your Coaching Network
August 30th, 2023
Why Churches Should Seek to Inspire Rather Than Inform
August 28th, 2023
Top strategies for increasing your coaching client base
August 23rd, 2023
5 barriers to extending hospitality
August 7th, 2023
Take time to assess your lifeUse sprints to move fasterMeasure what mattersAsk your friends WATER questionsQuestions to ask your teamIs your church is stuck?4 questions to ask faith mentorsDevelop active listening skills2 ways to make better decisionsMy 5 daily questionsHelping people changeCreate daily Sabbath momentsReframe your future5 questions to reframe your future
Write better emailsBlueprints for forming faithCreate safe space for clientsBecoming a virtual organization6 barriers to extending hospitalityDevelop coaching presence5 phrases to use when coachingCreate minsirty road mapsHelp clients ask better questionsIndicators of spiritual maturity10 giving metrics to review annually