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.
- First of all, ask yourself, “Should this information be passed along at all?” If not, don’t.
- 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.
- Is the timing right? Should it be sent now? If not, re-schedule.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Does my reader have to work to figure out what I’m talking about? If so, rewrite.
- Finally: Do both computer and visual checks for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage issues.
Gail Tycer offers business writing workshops and presentations; executive coaching, consulting, writing, and editing services. Call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email email@example.com to learn more.
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