Keep email´s short and snappy

Resist the urge to write long and drawn out messages. If you find yourself writing long responses, you probably should be having a conversation, not an email writing contest. The shorter and tighter your email messages, the better chance that they will be read, understood and acted upon.

Here are 10 Reasons That Your Emails Are Too Long

  1. You don’t know what you are trying to say. It’s like when someone calls you and says, “What’s up?” Um, I don’t know… you called me. Hold that email until you have something specific to say or ask.
  2. You don’t know what you are talking about. This is similar to when people endlessly talk in meetings to cover up their lack of information. Writing more isn’t going to cover up the fact that you are lacking knowledge. This practice occurs in many companies when individuals send emails to “appear” busy.
  3. Your signature is unnecessary. Your half-page signature doesn’t need to be on all of your emails. Do you send emails with a 1 word response and then half of a page of signature? As well, please lose the attached graphic and cute quote.
  4. You are writing a book. Emails are not books. If there is additional information, attach supporting documents. If you are putting a large table in your email, you should stop and consider whether it should be in an attachment.
  5. You are spamming. This happens often in larger corporations. Employees feel the need to send each other lengthy updates of what they have been doing. And it’s not just the remote employees. I used to get multi-page updates from a guy down the hall on his daily activities. Not needed.
  6. You are rambling. Don’t write a 2-page email to ask a 1-line question. Be direct. Thanks.
  7. You are forwarding a mess. Instead of taking the time explain, you just forward your email stream. Ever get one of those, “See below..!” messages. Um, I don’t want to read the 45 page back-and-forth that you participated in.
  8. It shouldn’t be an email. Don’t send an email when it should be a meeting. Or a phone call. Sometimes email isn’t the right medium for your message. If it is taking more than a few lines to explain, then go talk to the person you need to communicate with.
  9. It should be multiple emails. Here is a good one. One boss combines all of the team items into one email. You may think this is an attempt at efficiency, however combining multiple emails into one doesn’t work for everyone involved. And it creates great aftermath when people “Reply All.”
  10. You don’t edit your emails. After you write an email, you should edit it before sending. Besides the obvious spelling and grammatical errors, you should be editing for content, meaning, and conciseness. Another good thumb-rule: the number of times you should re-read an email before sending is equal to the number of people you are sending it to. (And yes, this rule scales.)