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Are you getting the best results from your emails?

Email writing at work is about getting the result you need and maintaining a good relationship with your clients, customers and colleagues. If you’re not getting the right response from your emails – or you’re not getting a response at all – ask yourself the following questions.

1. Is my email to the point?

Readers expect emails to be short. Just cover the key points in the email. If the topic about which you are writing is long, consider adding an attachment or including a web link to more detailed information.

2. Is my email formatted for easy reading?

An email densely packed with text with no paragraph breaks is likely to turn the reader off before they even read the first sentence. Respect the other person’s time by making information as easy as possible to find:

• Keep paragraphs short (maximum three lines)

• Use bold to highlight important information (but don’t overdo the bold)

• Add headings and use bulleted and numbered lists to break up the text

• Use an easy-to-read font (no smaller than 11 point).

3. Have I added a compelling subject line?

Carefully craft your subject line to entice your reader to open your email. When emailing back and forth to the same reader, remember to update your subject line regularly. If your reader receives multiple emails with the same subject line, he or she could overlook one or more of your emails.

4. Have I made my request assertively?

While it’s important to be polite, your reader is likely to ignore tentative requests such as ‘I was hoping you could provide the figures at your earliest convenience.’ A direct, yet polite, request is likely to get better results; for example, ‘To ensure we meet our end of financial year deadline, could you please email me the figures by 14 June.’ Even a clear, direct request can easily be missed when buried in the middle of a paragraph. Make your request stand out by putting it on a separate line.

5. Have I included a friendly close?

At the end of your email, add an invitation to contact you, let your reader know you appreciate their help, or inform them of the next step.

Crafting your emails using these five simple techniques will not only make your emails stand out from the crowd, they are more likely to achieve the result you want.

For help with all your workplace written communications, contact Patricia Hoyle at Concise Writing Consultancy on 02 9238 6638