As remote work becomes widespread in today’s job market, email is an essential tool for collaborations, communication, etc.
However, it can be quite challenging trying to craft effective emails, because there’s the downside of people receiving a lot of emails daily. And with a lot of emails in one’s inbox, there’s a slight chance of someone coming across your sent email in seconds.
Therefore, it’s important for people to be able to open and read your email without the hassle of them digging through their inbox to find it. And although you can’t control how and when people respond to emails, these seven tips can make it easier for people to get you what you need.
1. Write An Eye-Catching Subject
“If you want recipients to open and read your email, you have to first get their attention,” says Alannah Hobler, a recruiter at Australian help and Paper fellows. “By writing a compelling email subject, you’ll be able to grab readers’ attention, whenever they go through which emails to open first.”
Normally, people would prioritize what emails to open by relevance. Therefore, if your subject isn’t compelling enough, then they won’t open your email.
2. Use The BLUF Formula
What exactly is BLUF? It means “Bottom Line Up Front.” In other words, it’s not good to reveal what you want at the end – you’re not writing a mystery novel that has a ridiculous plot-twist at the end.
For many remote professionals, they tend to make the mistake of providing reasoning and building up to an ask. That’s the wrong way to write a professional email. Instead, provide the ask up front, with supporting reasoning afterward, so that the recipient can understand the reasoning in the context of the ask, and be more apt to email a response.
3. When Sending Requests, Be Clear And Set A Deadline
When asking recipients for something, it’s important to be clear about what you’re seeking, and who you’re asking to do the work. You should never leave anything to chance, or assume that another person is doing the work.
Plus, when asking for something, don’t be afraid to give recipients a due date, especially if the deadline is urgent. And, if necessary, follow up with recipients by phone, in case people have that tendency of checking their email a few times a day.
In addition, when setting a deadline, keep in mind:
- Plan ahead
- Set a reliable deadline (one that works for both the sender and the recipient)
- Never spring out deadlines at the last minute (In other words, don’t plan a deadline within a small window of time)
Giving recipients a reasonable deadline increases the odds of completion, versus something that gets ignored or rushed. Flexibility is common nowadays, with people working at home, while tending to other obligations. However, don’t ever take advantage of other people’s juggling work and life.
4. Email And Instant Messaging Are Two Different Things
The above title is straightforward: Email isn’t an instant messenger.
In fact, instant messengers (and chat, texting, etc.) are instant, and people are more likely to respond to them, when on mobile devices. However, with emails, people can either access them on smartphones and tablets, or wait until they get home to read them on a desktop computer or laptop.
If your message is urgent, make a phone call, or use an instant-messaging app. Also, when emailing, consider the three-email rule: If something isn’t resolved in three email exchanges, make a phone call.
5. Schedule Your Emailing
Scheduling email is a good way of preventing emails from turning into informal instant-messaging. And, scheduling allows you to keep your emotions in check, as you’re emailing your employer and or coworkers.
Scheduling emails allows you to juggle work and life effectively, without having to sacrifice one or the other.
6. Use A Canned Out-Of-Office Response When Away
Sometimes, you have to step away from the computer every once in a while. Therefore, creating a canned out-of-office response lets people know that you’re away, and that you’ll read incoming emails once you return to your computer.
As you set up a canned response, keep the following objectives in mind:
- Can you make that commitment of relying when you get back?
- Do you want other emailers to send you their messages again when you return?
- Do you want them to call you immediately, should there be an emergency?
- Are there any reasons for you to work non-traditional hours? (ex. childcare)
You can even snooze emails to unclutter your screen, and it reminds you to follow up.
7. Use Add-Ons To Improve Writing And Clarity
“Nowadays, users will use all kinds of add-ons to make sure that their documents are error-free and clear,” says Phoebe Mowbray, a business writer at Boom essays and State of writing. “Therefore, it’s not surprising that most people will use these add-ons for when they’re writing professional emails.”
Add-ons like Grammarly can help you improve your writing skills and clarity. They’re especially helpful when you’re writing a report and emailing it to your employer. However, if there are some or a lot of typos, then your employer and or client may question your ability to email in a professional manner.
“It’s important to reread your emails, regardless if you use add-ons like Grammarly or not,” adds Mowbray. “In this way, you’re making sure that your email not only makes sense, but also has zero errors and typos. In other words, read the email in your recipient’s point of view, and then determine what needs to be fixed.”
So, the overall message is straightforward: keep it simple. In other words, there’s no need to complicate things.
Make sure that you read and reread your emails before sending them. Make sure that your emails are clear, and that your recipients can easily respond to them in a timely manner.
But as always, keep it professional and positive, since your recipients (i.e. clients, customers, business partners, and fellow teammates) will remember how you approached them via email. In fact, relationships can be made or broken via email; therefore, make all of your email interactions with these important people count with good-quality emails.
As email continues to be a tried and trusted tool for communicating, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on your email communication skills, and make them stand out from the crowd, even when you’re working from home.
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