Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about email and how the answer to fixing email might be in how you handle the messages you send, rather than how you handle the messages you receive. There are five steps we can take to fix email. The first step we discussed was brevity and the second step was using better subject lines (you can read that post here: Step 2 to Fixing Email) .
The third step I wanted to talk about has to do with what you’re actually writing the email about. That’s right, the content of your message is always important.
We all know people who can cover three or four topics in a single conversational breath. They’ve got lots to share and you to share it with. While this might be fine when it’s time to catch up, it’s not that great for an email exchange. Following up to better subject lines, try and keep your emails focused on one topic or issue of concern. This makes it easier to file a reference email and gives you a clear focus for your next steps with an action email.
However, this is one of those “use your best judgement” steps. If you’re writing a newsy email to grandma then multiple subjects are okay. You’re catching her up on all that is your life. But in the business world, it helps to stay focused. A short, one topic email may be more likely to get a response than an email that jumps all over the place.
So what’s your next step? Before you send another email, take a moment and consider what the email is really about. Does the subject line reflect that? Is the content of the email just as long as it needs to be, and focused on one topic? If so, hit send!
How’s your email looking this week? Are you overwhelmed with incoming mail or do you feel like you’ve got it under control? Drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment here and let me know!
Don’t forget to join us next week for Step 4 to fixing email!