Although it takes practice to write crisp emails, the results are always better. The best strategy with email is to keep things very simple and crisp. My favorite approach is as follows:
· Think of your email as a PowerPoint slide. People are trained to scan PowerPoint slides very quickly.
· This means that you have one brief introductory paragraph at the beginning, to get your point across.
· List the main ideas (between three and five maximum) as simple bullet points below the introductory paragraph. Three is ideal but not always adequate.
· It can help to highlight the main words in each bullet, but use highlighting sparingly.
· In the Subject Line, precede the subject with a word like: FYI, ACTION, RESPONSE REQUIRED to let the reader know what you want. Keep your subject very short and simple.
The last paragraph ties together the main idea of the email, and briefly describes any action to be taken. This should be no more than one to three sentences. Use this approach and you will find your emails are easier to write and much easier to understand. Also, if called upon to put together a presentation, you can just paste the emails into PowerPoint as I did for today’s Leadership Meeting.