How to Write Effective emails

Published on 26th May 2017 in Productivity

Writing effective emails

Why is it important?
Writing short concise emails can dramatically increase the effectiveness of your communication and your ability to get things done.

The Subject Title
Descriptive titles eliminate uncertainty. Use the first word to define the category of the email. Try using: action, info, request, confirmed, and delivery. These categories build context and rapid comprehension for your reader. Let’s focus on the last two categories.

  • Confirmed helps your recipient know that you understand their request and have committed to a particular action. For example, if someone wants to know if you have submitted an important proposal to a client, you might respond with an email entitled:
    Confirmed: Widget proposal submitted to Acme Ltd on 4 April
  • Delivery is used when you’re responding to a specific request. It signals you are delivering what was requested. This creates instant context for the person who made the original request. For example:
    Delivery: Business plan completed for North East district.

Use brief, warm greetings
Try to keep the whole greeting to one line with fewer than eight words. Here are a few examples:

  • Hi Kelly – nice Job on the Baker account.
  • Hi Mark -thanks for sending the sales report.
  • Hi team- great meeting last week

Stick to a Standard Structure
Use the ABC structure to sculpt the body of the email. The key is to break the body of your message into three distinct sections

  • Action summary
  • Background
  • Close

An action summary Is a single sentence that summarises the specific action, purpose, or key point of your email.

Background section. Use space to clearly separate one idea from the next, but also try to limit your email to a single screen page.

Big rule: no scrolling!

People should be able to view the full email without scrolling! Chunk your key points. If you have more than five sentences in a bullet point section, consider creating a bold underline headings summary.
Define and limit attachments. If your email has attachments, clearly define the purpose of each attachment in the background section.
Close section is the place for niceties. Placing chitchat at the end of your email keeps the sentiments from getting in the way of your core point.
Next steps. In some emails, it’s helpful to provide a description of related events of that likely to happen in the future. These are not actions but rather general ideas connecting the current email with future initiatives.

Example email

Action: Please submit your district business plan to me by 5 PM, 5th June

Hi team- great meeting last week!

Action Summary:

  • Follow guidelines below for business plan submission due 5/11


  • Remember to use specific and measurable goals
  • If you need to review instructions, go here:
  • Be sure to stay within budget limits. £500 max. Sorry


  • CaII me if you have any questions and thanks for your help
  • Next meeting is 6/15: We’ll discuss business plan implementation,
  • When we hit target, let’s go and celebrate.


Angela Stevens
District Manager
Clever Widgets Ltd


What next?
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