Can you guess how many email accounts exist across the globe? According to The Radicati Group, the number is somewhere around 3.9 billion and they predict an increase to 4.9 billion accounts by 2017. Wow. It probably seems like every one of those accounts is sending YOU email, doesn’t it?
With that many email accounts sending billions of email messages every day, it’s no wonder so many people report feeling overwhelmed by their inbox. Want to make sure your emails are read quickly? Make it easy for your readers and keep your emails out of the trash folder by using these five simple tips.
1. Use Action-Oriented Subject Lines
“Yo home dog!” might be effective and fun when emailing your buddy about this weekend’s tailgate. But in the business world, your subject line rules the day. Make it count. Use clear language such as, “Action Requested by Friday Nov 12″ or “Please review and respond.” Action-oriented subject lines are more likely to get your email opened quickly because the recipient knows exactly what you need before opening your message.
2. Use ONLY a Subject Line
On the topic of subject lines, why not convey your entire message using ONLY a subject line? If you’re confirming an appointment, or responding to a yes or no to an earlier question, just put it in the subject line. “CONFIRMING: Central Perk Nov 3 @ noon – END” or “Response to blue fabric choice is yes – END” Use the word END to signify that’s the entire message. It works!
3. Broach a Single Topic
Sometimes it’s impossible, but it’s best to try to address one single topic per email. First, because a single subject line and topic in the body ensure your subject line is accurate for searching on later. Also, people tend to read and digest information in short bites. Too many topics in one email (and especially in a single paragraph) may make your reader’s eyes glaze over and miss something vital that’s buried in the thick of it.
4. Bullet Your Points
Don’t you love when you get a long email and when you’re two paragraphs in you still don’t know the reason the person emailed you? Don’t torture your reader with run-on sentences and multiple action items with questions in regular text. If you must address multiple points, make it simple by outlining each with a bullet point and if necessary, a short explanatory sentence for each one.
5. Kick Spell-Check To the Curb.
This one should go without saying, but you’d be amazed how many emails I receive with misspellings and horrid grammar. I’m not saying you have to whip out the AP Style Guide, but for Pete’s sake if English is your first language, have some pride, people. Know the difference among there, their and they’re. Use your and you’re properly. Apostrophes show possession or create a contraction — they aren’t for pluralizing. And as a final word of advice, when you don’t win, you LOSE, and a shirt that doesn’t fit is LOOSE. Know the difference. You can’t rely on spell check for these things and in business, clear, professional communication is crucial. It doesn’t matter how amazing your ideas, skills, products or services are if you can’t communicate intelligently.
Use these five tips to make your emails get noticed among the sea of other emails, and you’ll get the answers you need faster!
Monica Ricci founded Catalyst Organizing Solutions in 1998 and has been helping people change their lives ever since. She is the author of Organize Your Office In No Time and was named one of the nation’s “Organizing Elite” by Forbes Magazine. Monica is a Certified Professional Organizer and she sits on the committee that created her industry’s only professional certification program. She is also a winner of her industry’s highest honor, the National Association of Professional Organizers Founders Award. She appears frequently as an industry expert on both radio and television and is the former host of the radio show Organization Nation. Monica can often be seen on the HGTV show, MISSION: Organization.
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