Unless it’s an attachment, odds are that in most cases your email will be fairly short – a screen to a screen-and-a-half maximum. And because we write so many of them, we need to write them quickly. The shorter, the better – and out of here!
Business writing is a tool to get a job done. To make it easier for your email to do its job and avoid snags along the way, here are ten quick things to check before you send it.
1. First of all, ask yourself, “Should this information be passed along at all?” If not, don’t.
2. Remembering that email is writing, and has all the legal issues surrounding writing, should this information be sent in writing? If not, don‘t write it.
3. Is the timing right? Should it be sent now? If not, re-schedule.
4. Is email the best way to convey this information? Would it be better in person, by phone, by text message? Then do it that way.
5. Is it going to the right person? Should more than this one person get it? Am I sending it to people who don’t need, or should not, get it? “Send” appropriately.
6. Am I the right person to send this information? Would it be better for someone else to convey this message? Get it done that way.
7. With extremely rare exception, email is best done in a straightforward, make-your-point-immediately way. Is this message an exception? If so, consider using another way to deliver this information.
8. Have you made your point clearly, your thoughts flowing smoothly to make the point? What content is missing? What content is not needed? Add or subtract.
9. Does my reader have to work to figure out what I’m talking about? If so, rewrite.
10. Finally: Do both computer and visual checks for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage issues.
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