Effective Email Communication

Effective Email Communication


We’ve talked a bit about the basics of an email communication – the parts you need, and a few things you need to be aware of and cautious about.

This post provides you much information and specific examples of a few kinds of email that you might write:

So, follow through to read about the examples shown above.


How to succeed

How can you succeed in producing effective email communication?  And what is an effective email?

An email is a form of communication – so to be effective, it must deliver the message intended.   Since communication is a two-way street, you should be participating in both ways in the street of Email.   

There are numerous situations for which you might write an email – and let’s look at a few of them:

Respond quickly.  If you receive an email, it is a courtesy to respond quickly.  You will be demonstrating effective email communication.

Many individuals offer an automated response to an email to indicate that they’ve received the email.  Depending on the reason, that may or may not fall into the category of effective email communication.  People do it, however.  

If an automated message achieves the purpose intended, then perhaps it can be considered effective. The automatic response certainly may have its place; but as with everything, a balance is required. 

Everyone must have an understanding of the following:

  • What is effective email communication?
  • What is the specific situation that requires the email?
  • What is it that the reader needs to read?

Write for the reader.  Keeping the reader as the focus is most important in effective email communication.

Keep it short.  If you have a long document to send, then the “cover” email should be short. Clearly specify what is being attached and what you would like the reader to do with it.

  • Opening short paragraph – Purpose of the message
  • Middle short paragraph(s) – Details, briefly
  • Closing short paragraph  – Request for action plus contact information

Information.  If you write to ask for information, you are requesting a favour of the reader.  What is it that would cause that reader to respond quickly?  Try to provide an incentive for the reader.  What is there to benefit the reader?

Congratulations.  A friendly email of congratulations would have to sound sincere.

Thank you.  A friendly email of thanks must also sound sincere.  

Complaint.  Writing an email to make a complaint requires careful thought and presentation.  You need a little guidance on that, perhaps.

Personal emails are far different from business emails.  You assume that your friends know you, so would forgive any errors you might make.  However, the business email must be professional in all respects.

SPECIAL LINK - Click here to learn more about writing emails.

SPECIAL LINK - Click here for more on business email.


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Asking for information

Asking for information

In the first category – asking for information – you are, indeed, requesting a favour.  Why should the reader respond?   If there is “something in it” for the reader, then you can pretty well be sure that the reader will respond.  

Please send me information about your hotel. 

What is the benefit to the reader?  If you send me the information quickly, then I can likely book with you – and if I book now, I may book again.  Word of mouth can be powerful.  If I like your hotel, I will be sure to tell my friends.

For the reader - If it’s a business inquiry, then the reader may gain much extra business by providing that extra service of responding quickly.  You may also beat out the competition  by responding quickly.

Effective email communication is a goal you can strive for in all you do.


Asking for information

Get to your request immediately in the short opening paragraph:

Hello

Please send me information about your hotel.  I am looking for reservations for 6 adults from Wednesday, the 5th of … through to Sunday, the 9th of …  Six single rooms are required.

OR a little more succinct:

Please send me information on the availability of reservations for 6 adults in six single rooms, arrival on Wednesday, the 5th of … and departure on  Sunday, the 9th of

You can add a short compliment to finish up that opening paragraph.

Please send me information on the availability of reservations for 6 adults in six single rooms, arrival on Wednesday, the 5th of … and departure on  Sunday, the 9th of …  We’ve heard many good reviews of your facility.

The middle paragraphs can provide a few more details – about who, why, and so on…  Use a bulleted list if possible to highlight the information and make it easy to read and remember.  Keep the points short.

The closing can begin with the direct request for action and add the goodwill comment:

Please respond by email as soon as possible.  A reply by the … will allow us to confirm our stay with you.  We look forward to enjoying your hotel for our annual getaway.

Effective email communication is a skill you can learn.  You'll become skilled!

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Congratulations!

The personal email of congratulations

This email can be a short note.  It can be informal, and should be sincere.  “Best wishes” or “all the best” may be a useful phrase to use.

Hi Sam

Congratulations on your promotion to ….  I am so very happy for you!  This accolade is so very well deserved!

I look forward to working with you in this new capacity.  

All best wishes,

Sarah

OR

Congratulations on the birth of your son!  Excellent news!

OR

Congratulations on the newest member of your family!  Excellent news!

I hope all is well and that you will soon be home and finding the time to enjoy your new arrival. I’m so very happy for you both, and wish you all the best!

Sincerely,

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Thank you!


A friendly email of thanks to a friend or colleague

Hi Sam

Thank you very much for all your help with the project this week.  I couldn’t have done it without you.

OR

Thank you very much for going out of your way to assist me this morning.  Your help was invaluable!

Then the middle/end…

If you want to be specific, you can add the details in the middle short paragraph.  

Then, the closing:

Please contact me if I can return the favour… I look forward to seeing you again very soon.

OR  Please contact me if I can assist you with anything.  It will be fun to celebrate our success.

OR

Please contact me if I can assist you.  I look forward to working with you again soon.


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To make a complaint

An email to make a complaint

Any complaint that can be written with humour may be considered a good strategy in writing effective emails.

Humour can soften any situation, as long as the humour is considerate and not directed to another with any hint of blame.

  • Begin with the purpose of the message.
  • Provide the details briefly in the middle.
  • Close with the direct request for action plus the goodwill comment.

The brand-name swimsuit that I purchased from your factory is defective.  The clasps are of poor quality and have deteriorated.  

Then add the request for action.

The swimsuit that I purchased from your factory is defective.  The clasps are of poor quality and have deteriorated.  Please replace the suit with a new model or provide me with a refund of the purchase price.

Give the details in the middle.  If you can tell how inconvenienced or disappointed you are, that provides a very good personal touch.

I wore the suit only a few times, taking good care of it.  When I exited the sea yesterday, the clasp broke, the top came undone, and fell off.  You may imagine how embarrassed I was because there were a number of sun-bathers on the beach.  I was horrified!

Then the short closing, beginning with the request for action and a goodwill comment.

Please contact me by return email to let me know how you can fix this situation.  I loved my brand-name swimsuit, and hope that I can enjoy wearing a new one very soon.

Writing well involves messages that actually get the point across and communicate efficiently and effectively.  With practice, you can achieve your goal.

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Effective Email Communication


What is effective email communication? 

Effective communication is a communication that achieves the purpose for which it is prepared.  Obviously, effective email communication is that effective communication through the medium of email.

  • Always write for your reader.  Consider the reader.
  • Who is the reader of your email? 


Who is your reader?  Most likely, it is

(a) someone who either works hard during the day, receiving emails as a matter of course in his or her job.

    Or

(b) it is someone who works without a lot of computer support, and will check emails infrequently

    Or

(c) it is someone who actually “has a life” outside of the computer.

Your goal.  Your goal is to write an email communication that most effectively will be

  • received
  • read, and
  • responded to

by the recipient of your email. 

Then – and only then, when you receive the feedback – can you state that your email has been an effective email communication.

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So, let’s get started and analyze the various scenarios. Who are your readers?

  • Put yourself into the reader’s position. 
  • What is going to catch that reader’s attention and interest?

Regardless of what your reader does, your reader's time is very important.

In all cases, you must capture the reader's attention and interest first if you hope to have your reader read and follow-up with your email.


The basics

First – the subject line.  The subject line must be clear and succinct.  It must be relevant.  It must show some urgency – if there is urgency – but not a false urgency or you’ll be accused of “crying wolf’ to the detriment of future emails that you might send.

Catch the reader’s attention with the subject line first.

Begin with a salutation – a personal salutation so that the reader feels important and individual.  Making the reader feel good is very easy – and it’s such an asset to any email communication.

Body - Begin the short opening (maximum 2 sentences) with a focus on the reader – not the writer.  Avoid “I” and “We” at the start.  Instead, perhaps ask a question. Would you …  OR  Please

  • Add a short second goodwill sentence to complete the opening paragraph.  Try to highlight a benefit to the reader.  
  • If you’re asking the reader to do something for you, you might begin with an appropriate and sincere compliment.

The middle paragraph(s) – Write short sentences and short paragraphs.  Again, focus on the reader.  Write in active voice, rather than passive voice.  Be clear.  Be succinct.

The closing paragraph – Keep it short, but add the important closing paragraph.  Begin with a direct request for action – Please contact me at … 

  • If you are asking the reader to do something, offer to assist.  
  • In all situations, highlight benefits to the reader and make the reader feel good. 
  • Keep the closing paragraph to about 2 short sentences.


The closing paragraph should be separate because that’s where you want to end the communication – and you want the reader to remember what you have asked or what was the purpose of the message.  It’s a chance to choose your words to leave the reader with a good feeling. 

Of course, the closing must be relevant to the message – but it’s very easy to do.



So, you’ve written your email.  That’s effective communication from your side.  What about from the other side? 

What is effective communication?  Communication is a two-way street.  To have effective communication, there must be a back-and-forth of sorts to indicate and confirm an understanding between the two. 

Feedback

Feedback.  If you ask a question, and get no response, what do you know? 

If you speak to someone – call out to them – and get no response, what do you know? 

  • Are you being ignored? 
  • Did the individual hear you? 
  • What is the situation?


Without feedback, you really don’t know the whole story.   Effective communication is effective only if there is feedback.

So, if someone writes to you by email, respond!

  • Respond – not with an impersonal automatic response (unless you are away and must provide important contact information in your absence). 
  • Respond -  with an acknowledgment of the email – and mention that you will get to it as soon as possible.


Follow up - Then, put that email – and the need to respond in detail – in your ToDo list so that you will be sure to follow up.

The acknowledgment is so very important.

You can imagine how frustrated you would be if you send an email to someone and get no response. 

  • You took the time to write. 
  • Why did the recipient not take the time (and perhaps courtesy) to respond?


Did the email arrive?  Was it ignored?  Did it not arrive? 

You can see that the feedback is so very important - and feedback is a very important part of effective communication!


Writing format

Writing format

The format of an email is important for effective email communication.  The format can produce a positive effect or a negative effect upon your reader.

  • Be polite
  • Be considerate
  • Be fair
  • Keep an email limited to one topic
  • Format for easy reading – short sentences, short paragraphs
  • Include an appropriate Salutation in all emails
  • Include a signature in all emails – don’t keep the reader guessing who is writing


Avoid all capitals.  Writing in all capitals is the equivalent of yelling at your reader – something you definitely want to avoid.

Soon, you'll be on your way to very effective email communication.

Summary

Summary

Consider the following guidelines for effective email communication:

  • Effective communication is a two-way street.
  • Take the time to write sincerely and accurately.
  • Provide clear information to your recipient – a clear subject line that represents the message and a short and succinct email message in appropriate paragraphs
  • Acknowledge emails sent to you to ensure feedback


You can be known for effective email communication!


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