Three rules for nice (and effective) e-mail writing

April 1 2022

Three rules for nice (and effective) e-mail writing

E-mails. This is often one of the main ways we communicate at work. We exchange them with customers and co-workers. They are more formal than a regular instant messenger, yet they don’t need to be stripped of a kind tone. How to write nice and effective e-mails at the same time? We’ve got some tips for you! 

Message title and body – how to structure it? 

In professional e-mails, we often describe details of various processes, summarize, ask for information and arrange meetings. One- or two-sentence messages do not require a lot of structuring, yet giving some thought to longer e-mails, covering various topics, stages and including many questions might be a good idea. This will increase the probability for the entire message to be understood and all the topics addressed by the recipient. 

How to do it? 

  • Use subpoints. Gather topics and information in groups, use different bullet characters. 
  • Highlight key information and headings in bold, so that the recipient can easily find information they are interested in. 
  • Add summaries. Gather all questions in one place or tag the person you expect to answer the specific question. 

With these simple tips, you will make others’ work easier, as well as yours. Communicating information in a clear and direct manner will reduce information chaos. 

Also providing an appropriate title is beneficial. The title should be clear and contain keywords – this will help find it in the browser when needed. We do not recommend overusing of ASAPs – these should be saved for extraordinary situations. 

Perhaps you’ll also like: A Handy Phrasebook of Corporate Speech

A ‘call to action’ is important 

CTA, common in the marketing environment, is nothing else but a call to action. You may use it in e-mails as well, especially if you want to keep the conversation going. This is important e.g. in contact with prospective customers. 

How to use them? Ask questions! Ask questions requiring answers, ask for details, make references to specific paragraphs of a previous message, approve, express doubts, show interest. Engaged communication is key to good relationships. 

Remember that there is another person out there

One of the main principles to keep in mind is that there’s a person just like yourself on the other end. Of course, there may be differences in professional hierarchy or age, but our messages should be respectful and understanding. 

We will write differently to our office peer (emoticons, even memes are allowed) than to our boss, and yet differently to our customer. It all depends on the relationship but sometimes, apart from responsibilities, deadlines and ASAPs, take a moment to ask about their weekend, vacation or express hope that they are well. 

Read also: The three most effective networking tactics to help your business grow

Professional relationships do not have to extend into the private life, but undoubtedly our work is a major part of our life. Therefore, it is nice to feel well at work, and it is usually our relationships with other people that make it so.

Appropriate internal and external communication will help avoid unnecessary disputes, undertones and will surely improve any and all processes. 

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