With March just around the corner there’s a chance that many of us will have waved goodbye to the New Year’s resolutions we promised ourselves we’d keep. Even if you’ve given in to chocolate temptation, your gym gear has been gathering dust or you’ve hit the snooze button one too many times, there’s still time to start a new resolution. If you want to be a better communicator in 2019 and forge new relationships then you need to know how to write better emails and check out our handy guide below!
Subject to prejudice
If you’re wondering how to write better emails then do not neglect the subject line. These are the key to having someone open your email, and people often don’t consider this. Using spammy or vague subject lines like ‘open me!’ or ‘check out what’s inside’ will most likely have your message sent straight to the bin, and using poor grammar or spelling shows that you don’t value your own email enough to check it over.
You should also bear in mind that most inboxes viewed on computers will show around 60 characters, while emails viewed on a mobile may only show 25-30, so being short and sweet is key.
Beating around the bush
If someone opens your email and hasn’t learned what you’re trying to tell them by the end of the first paragraph they’ll lose interest fast. Many people think that because emails are impersonal then you should take extra care to be polite and almost skirt around the subject, but you can still be polite while making your intentions clear.
Don’t launch straight into your intentions, always be sure to put a greeting that’s suitable for the level of relationship you have with them. According to a study of over 300,000 emails, using ‘hey’ and ‘hello’ to open with have the highest response rate so these are safer bets than ‘dear’ which can be very formal or ‘greetings’ which can give a sense of cold-calling. If appropriate, you can also include something like ‘hope you’re well’ or ‘it was lovely to speak with you last week,’ and then move on.
Make your sentences clear and remove unnecessary waffle. This will make you seem hesitant and unconfident, and if you’re not invested in what you’re saying the reader won’t be invested either.
Less is more
Now is not the time to draft up the next Lord of the Rings. You want to keep your email relatively short and sweet so the person receiving it doesn’t tune out or lose track of what you’re trying to say. Try to only mention around 3 key points if you can, and a maximum of five if you really need to. These should be distinctive within your writing, as if your reader can understand you they’ll be more likely to respond.
If you’re sending the email to convey information rather than ask a favour, give the reader all the details they need to know such as any necessary data, the reasoning behind it or context. This will add to their understanding and make your points valuable rather than meaningless chit chat.
Use confident language to affirm your statements, e.g. ‘I think that this will work well,’ and stay away from wishy-washy open-ended questions like ‘I don’t know though, what do you think?’ unless you are sending an email purely to get someone’s opinion on something.
Wrap it up
Now that you’ve crafted an excellent subject line and body, the final tip in how to write better emails is using a great conclusion. If you want the email to result in a meeting, say something like ‘it would be great to meet up and discuss this with you in more detail, do you think you may have any time free over the next few weeks?’
If you want someone’s response or input, for example if you’re emailing a colleague for their thoughts on a project, use a line like ‘if you could let me know your thoughts on this by… that would be great’ and try to include a deadline so they know their reply is important.
Time to say goodbye
How you close an email is just as important as how you open it. There are hundreds of ways that you can finish your email, but some of the most neutral that work for contacting a majority include ‘thanks,’ ‘many thanks,’ and ‘best.’ If you know the person you’re emailing well you can always use a ‘cheers’ or ‘take care,’ or for more formal emails or messages to people you don’t really know you can use closers like ‘regards,’ ‘warm regards,’ or ‘looking forward.’
Want to see what other amazing advice we can offer? Our blog has tips on everything from working from home, to how to answer the trickiest interview questions and more!