Microsoft conducted a survey of Canadian media consumption and found that the average attention span for online readers is 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2010. Attention span was defined for the survey as “the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted." It’s clear that if you’re going to get someone to open, read, understand, and act on your email you will have to grab and hold their interest right from the start.
Being aware of some general rules that apply to all emails will help you compose messages that are more effective. Here are five tips for writing better emails:
1. Because your reader will make the decision to open based on the subject line, give it some serious thought. Be specific. For example, if you are writing a colleague to get his or her opinion on a particular issue, it would be vague and possibly counter-productive to send an email with the subject line “Your opinion please.” More effective would be “Opinion – Smith Account – Needed by Friday, May 4th.” Your recipient knows what’s inside and how to prioritize the reading and response.
2. Consider using bullet points, possibly that match your subject line. This keeps everything in an order that is easy for the reader to understand and refer back to in a long list of emails. Don’t ramble on, keep it brief.
3. Avoid abbreviations and shortcuts. You want to be concise, but an inter-office email you send to a colleague may be forwarded to the CEO. Write every email as if every person in your company is going to read it.
4. Follow the 24-hour rule if you are upset. Never send an email to someone while you are angry. If you can’t wait 24 hours, at least wait until you are cooled off and can review the email with a calm attitude.
5. Prior to sending your email, double-check for for grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Once again, your email may be going to a co-worker who is a friend, but it may someday be reviewed by someone in management, and there is no reason to give them the impression you are careless.
Tip number 5 is where Wordzen comes in. Wordzen is a truly unique productivity tool for people who compose email and want to have the confidence that their messages are clear, concise, professional, and free of grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.
Wordzen users compose their messages or write shorthand instructions for what they want written and send them to our professional editors who review and improve them. The user chooses whether the editor sends the message on their behalf or returns it as a draft.
Wordzen also offers the option for users to voice record their messages and have the editor type and rework the email for them. This amazing feature is like having a personal assistant do the bulk of the work for you!
Wordzen is an extension for the Google Chrome browser and works with any active Gmail account. It is easy to sign up for Wordzen by visiting www.wordzen.com. We also have a step-by-step video guide here: Wordzen YouTube Video.
Labels: effective email writing, email editing, grammar, writing emails