How to Write E-mails People Will Read

by David Silverman

  1. Announce what it’s about. The subject line is the only thing you’re sure recipients will read. “Re: re: re:” is not helpful. Neither is “Project Update.” Be specific and clear, as in “Revised Contract for Your Review” or “Off-Site Brainstorming Notes.”
  2. Stay on topic. The best e-mails say one thing and say it clearly. One-subject e-mails also make it easier for recipients to file messages once they’ve taken action, something anyone who uses Outlook to manage tasks appreciates.
  3. Provide context. Do your readers know that your company will lose $37 million if a shipment of hamburger buns doesn’t make it to Iowa? If you’re not sure, remind them.
  4. Focus on the strongest argument. Should those ...

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