Not too long ago, my boss circulated a post about memo writing from Modern Meeting Standard that not only got me hooked on that great blog, but that confirmed what I had always thought about group emails in the office: the longer and more convoluted it is, the less someone is likely to read it.
How ironic, especially given that the people who write the long, convoluted emails think they have something important enough for you to know.
Don’t be the author of emails that make people’s eyes gloss over. That is no fun.
1. Keep it brief.
2. Summarize – not at the end, at the beginning.
3. Ask questions to specific people directly (e.g., “Sharon – Is this what you intended?”)
4. Unless you’re the boss, don’t reply all with a question, especially if you do not know who can provide the answer. It will either (a) go nowhere and produce nothing, or (b) cause significant confusion.
5. Figure it – whatever it is – out, before sending the email and make it clear to the recipients why they are getting it. It can be irritating to receive an email about something and have no idea why you’re getting it or what you’re supposed to do with it.
Together, we can make being on distribution lists bearable!
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