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Are Your Emails Getting Read?

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According to this report, executives and business users receive an average of 84 emails a day. How do you ensure that the email you sent will get read, responded to and positively regarded?

Here are some tips.

1. Compose a thoughtful subject line

Subject lines are very important because your readers:

  • Glance at the keywords to decide whether to open the email or put it aside
  • Use keywords to find the email they want to respond to it, usually later when they have more time
  • Use keyword searches to retrieve emails or to later follow through on issues

Say you’re composing a message about a specific outstanding website issue. If there are multiple email messages with the subject ‘Outstanding Website Issues’ and your reader is looking for an email within that chain of correspondence, you can imagine how frustrating it is to have to open every email to find that specific message.

Help your reader by being specific. 

Instead of ‘Subject: Outstanding Website Issues’

Try ‘Subject: Outstanding Website Issues: Login Information Missing’

Outstanding Website Issues

 

 If there’s a call to action, make sure this is conveyed in the subject line.

Managers to Sign Up for Social Media Course

 

2. Format your subject line

Format your subject lines so that they stand out with purpose and clarity for your readers.

  • Use brackets and dashes, e.g.

Instead of ‘Subject: Training Information on Business Writing Workshop 23 May 2016

Try ‘Subject: Training Information – Business Writing Workshop (23 May 2016)’

Training Information

 

  • Put the keywords at the start and avoid beginning with numeric information

Instead of ‘Subject: J32062 University of Manchester revision of module materials for AcadYear 2016’ 

Try ‘Subject: University of Manchester [J32062] – Revision of Module Materials (2016)’

  University of Manchester

 

  • Capitalise the keywords (so they stand out)

Instead of ‘Subject: Global marketing project meeting update – March 2016’

Try ‘Subject: Global Marketing Project Meeting Update – March 2016’

Global Marketing Project Meeting Update

 

3. Be upfront with the important bits

Most readers will glance at the first part of the email before deciding whether to proceed further. Also, people reading on their mobile phones will often scroll very quickly through their messages.

Put the important information in the beginning of the email. Some readers skip the middle and jump to the end, so you can add the important bits there as well.

If you really must put important information in the middle, use bullet points or numbered list so that it is easier for readers to process the information.

 

4. Keep your paragraphs short

Readers are turned off by long chunky paragraphs. Most readers prefer concise messages so keep your messages compact if you want to create the impact. Break up your paragraphs and sentences, e.g.:

Original:

 Original

Revised:

 Revised

 

Remember, the emails you write are a reflection of your professionalism and credibility. Apply these tips today to be more effective and credible in your email communications!

Click here to find training and workshops on email and business writing. This article is written by Michelle Lim, Principal Trainer.