I spent some time last week going over the slides I use to train people how to be better at email. This diagram is a new addition to the slides. I’m not trying to say that you should never forward an email. I have been known to – very sparingly – send emails on to a small group, or even an individual who I thought would appreciate it.
What I am getting at, though, is that the emails that you send around, be they funny, or serious, or work-related will all build up in the mind of your recipient. Every time we receive a new message, there’s some kind of notification associated with the message.
If you check your email infrequently, that might be that you have, say, ten new emails to check. The person who reads your email will then scan through their inbox, look at the subject line and the sender, and make a decision as to which email they’re going to read first.
What I’m trying to say with the diagram is that you should send the kinds of email that makes your reader open your email first. This has an impact for every message that you send.
- have a subject line that means something, and relates to the email
- use the same name with the “from” address every time
- get to the point
- make sure every message is useful to the sender
If you can improve your skills at communicating by email, you make your own life easier (as people will process your requests faster, and get back to you sooner) and will help out the people you’re sending messages to. Plus, when it comes time to write for other digital channels (facebook, twitter, job cover letters), your skills will transfer well.