We’ve all been there. Draft a well thought out, concise and articulate email with a clear call to action. Check the email over and hit send. Then nothing. No reply. Nothing. So you send a follow-up email, that usually starts with ‘per my last email…’ and then nothing. Ahhhh! The thing is, how many emails do people get a day? Loads. So, you have to make sure your email is worth reading and responding to. How do you do this? Here are a few tips on how to make sure your emails are read… and actioned!
How to make sure your emails are read… and actioned!
- Be clear and precise. The recipient should be able to see at a quick glance what the email is about, how it relates to them and why it is essential to read.
- Bear in mind that your colleagues will all read their emails on different equipment (phone, tablet, computer etc.) which means that some people will only see the subject heading or they can see the whole email. Either way be concise and try to get your key point into the first sentence.
- Make sure you put something in the subject heading, never leave this blank. The words you write into the subject heading should be relevant to the email. If the email is urgent make sure you state this in the subject heading.
- Tell the reader what you want them to do. Be polite but also be firm – ask the question or relate the action required in a clear tone. Ask them if they have understood the request and if they need anything further from you to fulfil the demand. If it is an urgent matter, maybe a phone call would be better?
- If the email is for their information only ensure you add FYI to the email subject heading. This means the recipient doesn’t have to rush to read the email. You will also gain their email trust, so when you do have urgent emails they will know what the difference means!
- Who is the email going to? Do they need it to clog up their inbox or will a phone call do or even walking over to talk to them (eek?!) suffice? If email is the best form of communication, then make sure you don’t include anybody in the email that doesn’t need to see it – never overuse the cc button!
- Spend a few minutes proof reading your email for the obvious grammar and spelling mistakes but also for tone and style. It can be easy for emails to be misinterpreted.
- If you are sending an email to colleagues that you are friendly with smiley faces and other emojis are fine. If you don’t know the person very well or they are outside the office, do not add smiley faces… ever! Impose the rule of professional and concise language on your emails at all times.
- If the email is to a person you’ve never met before and they don’t know who you are a quick one line of introduction is worthwhile. For example, ‘My name is XXX I am XXX’s Executive Assistant, I am contacting you today for …’
- Don’t send junk mail or irrelevant emails. If you have a bit of a reputation for sending unimportant emails, then don’t expect your important emails to be read at all.
If you need some more tips and tricks on how best to manage emails then do check out our email management section of Practically Perfect PA, where you will find loads of articles to tame those inboxes!