Writing useful emails goes beyond a simple productivity tip — communicating quickly and efficiently is the key to staying nimble. Sometimes that means getting up and talking face-to-face. Other times, it means putting a little more thought into email before hitting “send.”
actively consider if EVERYONE you are sending a message to is impacted
define urgency ... are you unable to move forward with ANYTHING until you get your answer? or are you wanting to complete your task and willing to keep someone else from completing their
different tools for different communications (talk about difference between email and meeting)
when to reply “thanks"
Avoid One-Word Subject Lines
Good: Dinner party at Stacy
Best: Dinner party at Stacy this Sat (Nov/7) @ 8pm
Write in Actionable Format
"In today’s work environment, it’s common that people send emails to others to get something done. ... What will usually happen is that the subject line of the email will be used as the line on the to-do list.”
Bad: Contact list
Good: Import contact list
Best: Import contact list (attached) into CRM before this weekend
Use Prefixes and Abbreviations = http://99u.com/workbook/19486/5-prefixes-you-should-be-using-in-your-email-subject-lines
[FYI] – For Your Information. The recipient is informed that he does not have to reply to this email.
Example: [FYI] Free Donuts in the kitchen courtesy of Bob
[URGENT] – Used for when something is really urgent. Don’t use it if something is not urgent. And if something is truly, truly urgent, it’s best to follow up with a call or IM as well.
Example: [URGENT] Final reminder to file quarterly team reports
[EOM] – End of Message. This is usually used when the entire email is in the subject line.
Example: Elevator is broken today, please use stairs [EOM]
[NRN] – No Reply Needed. Indicates that the receiver doesn’t need to reply. There is likely a body to the message but no response is needed.
Example: Jennifer wants you to call her back [NRN]
[Y/N] – meaning this email is a Yes/No decision. The recipient is informed that he should reply to this email with a simple very short answer. If you just need to know if they want chicken or fish, or whether 3pm works better than 4pm, use [Y/N] to get your answer more quickly.
SUBJECT LINE: Decision needed on location of weekly review [Y/N]
BODY: Do you want to meet at Starbucks or in the conference room?
[PYR] – Per Your Request. If you’re sending someone something that they previously asked for (in other words, your email isn’t initiating any new actions), let them know right up front.
Example: Agenda attached for Weekly Review [PYR]
Greeting (dear, hi, hey, etc.)
if you want people to respond = "Use shorter sentences with simpler words. A 3rd grade reading level works best.”
Number your questions
Use “FYI” for emails that have no actionable information.\
Tell them that you’ll get to it later.
If someone sends you an urgent email that you can’t get to today (or this week, or this month), write them a quick note to let them know, specifically, when you will get to it.
Never “reply all” (unless you absolutely must).
Never send an angry or contentious email
Emails leave too much room for misunderstanding
Sign off (sincerely, best, etc.)
Email Management (a different meeting entirely):