In my previous article on email management, I gave some tips for managing your emails.  But what about actually writing emails, and using them as a form of communication? What do you do to have effective email communication?  How do you present the persona and image of the person that you’d like to be known as in the work environment?  How do you convey your meaning, without coming across as too terse, mean, mad, ignorant, silly, or any of a lot of other not-so-nice things?

7 Tips for Effective Email Communication

  1. Use complete sentences, and correct grammar.  This will go a long way to making you sound much more literate.
  2. Spell check is your friend.  Use it.  Misspelled words give the impression that you don’t care enough to run spell check, or that you are just plain ignorant.  Neither is very good.
  3. When you are asked to do something, a simple reply will do.  Make sure you say that you understand the assignment, or ask questions.  Also set an expectation of when this task will be complete by.  Let the person sending the email know if you won’t be working on it fairly immediately.
  4. Make sure that you add enough context to each email, without writing a book.  You want to avoid the TLDR problem- Too long, didn’t read, as well as asking a question that has no context to the person reading it.
  5. Avoid the mammoth paragraph.  It can be hard to read an entire email that’s crammed into a single paragraph.  3-5 sentences per paragraph is a good maximum.  If you have more information than that, either break it into multiple paragraphs, or use a list.
  6. Use lists, especially if you completed multiple tasks.  This is particularly effective when you are doing things like sending a status report.
  7. Add headers and breaks to the text.  Make sure that you subtitle separate parts of an email, much the way you would with a word document, or other document.

The point of these tips are to make email readable, and approachable.  I’m not saying to spend forever composing emails, but you do need to be clear, concise, and eloquent.  Learning to manage emails, and write them effectively will help you go far in your career.