Best practices for composing emails

There’s a fabulous sentiment in this tweet. Regardless of your industry, it’s probably fair to say that you spend a lot of time on email. Composing, sending, reading, and trying to achieve that elusive “Inbox Zero” status.

Composing Email

How can you do your part when you’re writing an email?

  • Keep emails brief, clear and consistent
  • Make it clear what you expect from the reader. Does it require their approval, is it for their information, or should they review it prior to a scheduled meeting? Make sure they have adequate time to review it.
  • Follow up if you don’t hear back — but only after a reasonable amount of time. Some people have massive inboxes and your message can get lost below the scroll.
  • Read and re-read what you’ve written and try to simplify it. The recipient may only have time to scan what you’ve written.

Receiving Email

There are things you can do on the receiving end, too.

Turn on your email auto-reply feature when you’re going to be away from your email. It may be a day, a week, or more, but it’s a great way to let people know that you’re away. Include information about how they can get in touch with you or your designated backup, if that’s important.

For important communications that you can’t follow up on right away, letting people know you received it along with an estimate of when you will get back to them can go a long way toward strengthening communication.

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