Writing Effective Emails That Get Read
The folks at Mind Tools say an average office worker receives about 80 emails per day. If your message is one of 80, or more, it can get lost in the shuffle. As creators of solutions, Mind Tools has developed several tips that will help your emails get noticed and answered.
- Don’t over-communicate. Write only essential emails. If you need to go back and forth to resolve an issue or answer a question, pick up the phone and call the person.
- Use an attention grabbing subject line that captures the essence of your message. If you need a response by a specific date, note the date in the subject line.
- Make emails as brief as possible, without sacrificing clarity. If you have a list of topics to discuss, consider writing a separate email for each topic. That may make it easier for the recipient to respond.
- Always be polite and professional. Close with a salutation like, “Best regards,” or “Thank you.”
Customizing your writing style can add to an email’s effectiveness. For instance, if you know the receiver’s DiSC profile, you can tailor your message to their preferred communications style. DiSC is an abbreviation for the behavior types Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. According to BusinessProductivity.com, each behavior type responds to a different communication style.
High D’s are competitive, direct, demanding and focused on winning. For them, be brief and to the point, don’t offer a lot of detail, stick to the topic, and if possible, put them in the lead.
Hi-I’s are warm, enthusiastic and trusting. They appreciate making a social connection before jumping into the topic. They respond best to informal, relaxed and sociable communication. Praise and humor also work well for High-I’s.
Steady High-S’s are calm, patient and consistent. They’re motivated by cooperation, opportunities to help and genuine appreciation. They respond best to a logical and systematic approach. High-S’s adapt slowly to change, but on the other hand, they like knowing they’re appreciated and important.
Hi C’s are careful, cautious, accurate and tactful. They love learning, demonstrating their expertise and their high quality work. Be precise and focused when communicating with them. Provide clear expectations and give them the opportunity to ask questions.
Most people are a combination of these profiles, but there is usually a dominant preference. Yet, some are harder to figure out than others. When you’re not sure, play it safe. Make your communication concise, clear and professional.
It’s also important to remember that the way you communicate is affected by your own DiSC profile. Understanding yourself and how others interpret messages is an important part of ensuring effective communication in person and when writing an email.