Podcast: SL@P 012 - How to Send Better Emails
If you use email as a business tool and not merely as a convenient means of occasionally sending electronic messages, you likely have noticed that certain emails and certain senders just don’t get as much of your attention as they need. Moreover, you may be wondering why your emails to client, colleagues or other third parties do not always get answered. Well, the answer may be simpler than you think.
The problem is that people are generally pretty terrible at sending emails that are worth responding to. Additionally, poorly written or formatted emails take too much time and effort to decode and respond to.
Since, I discovered the power of a well written and formatted email I have noticed a significant increase in not only responses but also timely responses, especially from lawyers that I don’t often communicate with on a regular basis.
Here are the three basic tips for producing better emails:
Better Subject Lines
The subject line of any email is the first thing that any recipient will see about your email. In fact, most modern email clients will show the senders name, the subject line in bold and a short snippet of text from the body of the email.
- If you care about having your emails read and responded to, start with your subject line. A good subject line should clearly state the intent or purpose of the email.
- Do not write a paragraph in the subject line.
- Keep your subject line short and too the point – use attention grabbing keywords that accurately portray the reason for your email.
- Keywords like Action, Request, Review, Info and a short description of the emails contents are extremely effective. For example, an email subject line that reads, “Review – Proposed Order to Compel” to opposing counsel will effectively communicate what your email is about and what actions the reader will have to take within the email.
- By far subject lines are the most commonly ignore part of effective email writing.
Get to the Bottom Line
In the first two sentences of any email, get to the point of why you are writing. Don’t meanders around the email in hopes of clearly defining what you are asking, requesting or otherwise emailing about. Use the first two sentences to outline what the email is about with enough detail to put the read in context for what the remainder of the email is about.
The ‘Bottom Line’ helps email recipients understand what the body of the email will be about and how the email affects them. The ‘Bottom Line’ should clarify why the email is important or relevant to the reader and should not get into the background more than is necessary to examine why the reader is receiving the email.
Don’t Waste Time or Text
When you email someone, don’t waste his or her time. Short emails are far more effective than long drawn out explanations or essays. If you need to explain background information don’t be afraid to use bullet points or refer to a previous email. Above all, don’t waste your time or anyone else’s with length emails that are no helpful. Keep it short and simple.
Jared Pierce hung his own shingle right out of law school and has spent every minute since then discovering the joys and difficulties of chasing success. Anyone who has ever met Jared will tell you h