The Career Girl’s Guide To Writing Effective Emails

Posted January 15, 2014 by Kit Graham in On the Ladder
These days most of our work tends to be done over email, which means that mastering email communication can help you get ahead. A successful email will clearly express your point, and evoke a response from the recipient(s). Follow these tips to write more effective emails:

  1. Choose the subject line thoughtfully. You always want to title your emails so they will be easy for you to find in the future, while also conveying the main subject of the email to others. Use the subject line to help the recipient prioritize your email, especially if you know the recipient receives a large number of emails. If you are working against a tight deadline, add PLEASE READ AND RESPOND to the subject line. Other terms that will help recipients classify emails include URGENT, FYI, and RECAP. Be cautious when adding the word “Urgent” to your emails. If you use “Urgent” too often people will think you are crying wolf. Only use “Urgent” in the subject line if there will be negative consequences if the issue isn’t resolved immediately.
  2. Be upfront in the first paragraph of the body of the email. If you need a response by a certain date, say so. Spell out how you would like the recipient to respond to your email – whether you would like them answer to a question, set up a meeting, or something else.
  3. Once the recipient knows what you would like them to do, give them all of the background information they need. Explain why the task at hand is important. What will happen if the task isn’t accomplished? If you are asking someone to do something for you, you may need to convince them to help you.
  4. Close the email by quickly restating what you need from the recipient and the purpose of the email. Your goal should be to keep the email short, while making your point and/or request clear.

About the Author

Kit Graham

Kit Graham is the author of The Gourmet Grilled Cheese Cookbook and, a food site focused on original and practical recipes. Kit's work has been featured on Refinery 29, Eater, The Frisky, 300 Sandwiches, One Woman Shop, Break Thru Radio and The Urbaness. She is also a founding member of The Second City Food Wine + Social Club and the Windy City Blogger Collective.