Recently NYU student, Max Wiseltier, created quite a stir when he “replied all” to an email sent out by the school. Turns out he replied to 40,000 of his fellow students who were all addressed in the “to” box of the email. Ooops!
Given how much time we spend sending emails and receiving them this got me thinking about some strategies for sending more effective email communication.
5 tips for sending better emails:
- Keep your emails as short as possible. If I were the Goddess of Email I would limit emails to 140 characters (like Twitter!). Oh the happiness that would bring!
- Make your email easy to read. Use bullets, numbers and short paragraphs to make your points. If I’ve got to reread your email to try to figure out your message that’s a bad email.
- Tell me what you need or want in the subject and the opening line of the email. As I skim through the 100’s I get everyday, I see the subject line and preview sentence first. If you get my attention there, your email is going to get read faster.
- If you are sending an email to a large distribution list… please, please, please “bcc” the recipients. You don’t want to fall a victim of a “reply-all-calypse”.
- If somebody doesn’t get what you are trying to communicate on the first email exchange… pick up the phone and call them or walk over to their office and have a conversation. Sometimes context gets lost in email and misunderstandings can be avoided or cleared up quickly with a real life conversation!