3 Things We Can All Do To Make Our Emails Better

I hope that you’re enjoying a pause right now and thinking about the people and things that matter most to you.

A friend shared this article with me about Volkswagen’s effort to limit after-work conversation and it struck a chord with me – that we should all think about ways to improve our communication style and that there are simple, concrete things we can do to improve this communication.

Tell people what you’d like them to do, not how you’d like them to do it

The better you can share what needs to be done and to make it factual, the more likely you’ll be to get the results you want. To that end, keep emails short and to the point – emotional conversations should happen using the phone or in person. There are lots of great resources to help you do this, including the Three Sentences technique.

Ask for what you want

In each email, make it very obvious what you’re requesting. If you ask for one or two things in each email – detailing who you expect to do the thing, what it should look like when it’s done, and by when it should be completed – you’ll have a task blueprint that should be pretty clear to another person (and not just to you.) There are many frameworks for these goals – one common one is the SMART goal.

Be a Great Copywriter

Finally, imagine that your email (just like your blog post) is competing for attention with everything else someone might be doing in a day. To that end, you really need to write a great headline or subject to your email to make sure it gets read. It’s best if that subject line is actionable – giving a call to action, a hint at the result, and seems bite-sized enough to represent the smallest big thing that someone might decide to do today. To that end, please try to implement these three suggestions in your next email.


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