Email – Less Is More

Was reading the USA Today tech article about 8 things you’re still doing wrong with email and there was “one of the eight” that really jumped out at me. That “one” being;  When composing an email “Less Is More” — meaning:

K. I. S. S. — Keep it simple, stupid. Email is not the place to write a novel. With more than 121 emails in a typical inbox a day (source: The Radicati Group), no one wants to read 17 pages of text. Granted, your emails needn’t be as cold and brief as an instant message or text (e.g. “C U @ 10 4 java?”) but be sure what you’re communicating is clear and near the top of the email, as studies have shown our attention span tends to drift as our eyes scan down the page. Friendly is good, but keep your email messages short, simple and concise. — source: USA Today

Oftentimes, especially when emotion is involved, we have a tendency to write lengthy emails. I can tell you from experience, that writing lengthy emails; especially, to the people that manage us at work, will not get you anywhere. If anything, it will have a negative impact.

Also, I have found two concerns, since the inception of email that factors into the equation:

  1. Most people are not good readers… (i.e. cannot accurately interpret or absorb the point being presented due to being too busy; lack good reading skills, short attention span, could care less, etc…)
  2. Most people are not good writers… (cannot accurately provide an interpretation of the point being presented due to poor grammar skills; poor spelling; lack attention to detail, let emotions take over, etc… )

Email is a powerful communicator and can serve as a record of actions, of sorts; however, be very careful of what your intentions are. Once you hit send, retraction of an email is impossible. It is best to keep the content brief and to the point. If you are sending an email, based on your emotions, I highly recommend you wait, really think it out and/or personally meet with or talk to the person.

A trick that has served me well, to make sure my email gets read, is to make the subject line of the email stick out like a sore thumb that is based on what the direct point or content of the email is. For example, instead of a subject line such as “Call Me”; I may insert a subject line “Call Me About the What’s On My PC Contract – ASAP”…

Let me know what some of your advice is when it comes to Email…

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