In an age of continuous communication, writing good e-mails is quite a useful skill to have in your arsenal. Now, you may think that you are already someone who writes good e-mails but here are some pointers for you to cross-check that claim or build on what you already know to write e-mails which end up fulfilling your purpose.

The essence of a good e-mail

  1. A clear subject line
    As simple as it may sound, your first pointer is to have a strong subject which clearly communicates the purpose of your e-mail. Do not overload the subject line with too much information which might misinform your reader about its actual content. Keep it simple and specific. For eg: Agenda for the team-meeting on the 22nd of May.
  2. Don’t Over-communicate
    Do not bombard someone with too many e-mails or too much information in one e-email. Keep your message focused, with easy to understand language, and avoid repetitions of a point that you may have already made. Don’t complicate matters by using cliched email verbatim. Use tools like Grammarly to avoid silly mistakes in your sentences like sentence correction, grammar, and spelling errors.
  3. Have a clear flow
    Frame your e-mails beforehand by being clear about what you want to communicate and your chain of thought. Don’t write an e-mail which ends up confusing your reader than clearing up things. Use confident language to verify your ideas or your messages. Be sure to run your e-mails by someone trusted if you are not sure about how it will come across.
  4. Check your tone
    It is important to read your e-mail from a perspective of a reader other than yourself to check the tone of your message. One of the disadvantages we may be at, if we are not too careful is communicating a rather simple message in an unnecessary tone invoking a reaction different from the one you expect. As a general rule, check if you are being overly aggressive or passive, too casual or formal. Think about how your e-mail makes you feel ‘emotionally’.
  5. Easy on the eyes
    Use comfortable fonts, space out your message in paragraphs, use pointers, good colours in your e-mails to make it easy on the eyes of the reader. Use word formatting to ensure that someone doesn’t miss out on your main pointers or what you want them to focus on.
  6. Proofread your e-mail
    Avoid silly mistakes by proofreading your e-mails. Make this a habit at the end of writing an e-mail. Do not use too many exclamation points or cliches which may make you sound robotic. Check for your grammar, punctuation, consistency of message, tone and so on.

Overall, communicating via e-mail is a skill useful to have. Practice writing good e-mails by checking off the items on this list for every e-mail. You don’t need to follow a set template while writing. You can be authentic and express clearly, especially when the message doesn’t fit a standard template. Everything boils down to being clear, consistent and focused in what you want to say, with the right tone and simple language. Happy emailing.