Have you ever counted the number of work emails you send or receive daily? Depending on your job or industry, your email tally can be anywhere from single to triple digits! Trying to prioritize, read, digest the content, then respond appropriately can be a huge burden while still dealing with your regular work responsibilities.
What often makes dealing with emails even more challenging is when you read it, perhaps re-read it, and still not know what the purpose was, why it was sent to you, and what, if anything, you are supposed to do next.
Poorly written emails can negatively impact your corporate image. It can also lead to ineffective communication with clients, as well as between colleagues, thus lowering productivity. All of these can lead to negative business outcomes.
To ensure your emails are effective, productive, and worthwhile to the reader, consider writing more strategically. The following is some of what is included in writing strategically:
- Analyze your readers: focus on who will receive your message.
- Primary Reader: The person or people to whom you are sending the email. What do you know about the recipients? What do they know about the subject of the email? How do they process information? What level are they within the organization?
- Secondary Readers: Who else may receive or read your email? They may be the people who deal with the information in your email, thus they may have a greater impact on you and the success of your message than the primary reader does.
- The Environment: What is going on in the reader’s world that might affect how your message is received?
- Clearly define your purpose and outcome: Your purpose is why you are writing. Are you writing to inform, to educate, to persuade, etc.? Your outcome is what you want your readers to DO or KNOW after reading your message.
- Have a strategy: Your strategy is how your information flows. Using what you know about your readers and what you are trying to accomplish will help guide how you organize your message. Your message should flow logically and make sense to your readers. That is why it’s important to start the process of crafting your email by considering and analyzing the readers.
- Use an appropriate style and tone: Style is how you combine your words and phrases. Tone is the feeling you create in your readers. You write in a specific style to create a specific tone (formal or informal, friendly or hostile, positive or negative).
- Edit and proof: Editing and proofing are two separate functions. Editing checks for clarity and content. Proofing checks for grammar, spelling, and format. Both are very important.
Writing strategically will greatly improve the effectiveness and readability of your emails by ensuring you are clear, concise, and complete in your content.
For more information on writing strategically, check out the suite of Booher Strategic Writing® courses.