All too common mistakes
Every email we send affects our professional reputation, our personal brand. So, pay attention to these common mistakes is our email communication.
(1) An email which is too long
Context is critical to guiding the reader’s interpretations, hence, remember that what they need to know is inevitably a subset of everything we could tell them.
But the adult attention span is said to be a merely 8-seconds, hence, every moment count. So, get to the point.
(2) CC’ed too many people
Do your CC habits ensure that a cast of thousands is in the loop?
If so, ask yourself who is truly the essential audience for the message. In many organizations, overuse of CC reflects a political culture in which people cover their tracks by overinclusion.
Remember that each message you send contributes to everyone’s inbox, including your own, especially when one of your recipients decides to Reply All.
(3) Incomplete Thoughts
There is a big difference between being concise and being terse. Be careful about whether the reader can follow the thread.
Try to ensure that your email is composed well with sufficient context.
(4) Unclear message: burying the lede
To begin a story with details of secondary importance to the reader while postponing more essential points or facts. Hence, it shouldn’t take a symbologist to understand and find the important message hidden in your email.
Unless of course if you intended it to be a secret communication.
But normally, emails are to convey a message, deliver directive, hence, make it easy for others to understand your message.
A few email writing rules we should follow
- Use an intuitive subject line that clearly shows the purposes of the message.
- Bonus points if you include a header, such as, [ACTION] or [INFORM] or [URGENT], which serves as a trigger point that helps reader to understand the expected response.
- Provide a clearly stated request at the beginning of the email in case our audience fails to read beyond the preview pane.
- Bold the action party to highlight accountability and attention.
- Be nice.
- Triple check your grammar.
- Ray Dalio’s Principle: Life and Work
- A bit on organization problem: The Peter Principle
- The Rise of Pointless Work: Bullshit Job
- How to Collaborate with your enemy.
- How to win at work!
- Richard Templar’s The Rules of Work.