And we’ve all probably written one of those—likely more than once. But knowing how frustrating it can be to receive those kinds of messages, in my next few posts, I’d like to offer some tips to avoid writing them.
Today’s tip: Cut, cut, cut.
If it helps you get your thoughts together, write as much as you want to—at first. But then, before you hit “send,” go back and cut anything that’s unnecessary. Remember, your readers are busy people, and you don’t need to waste their time.
Start with any pithy stories that don’t directly support your message. This is a business email, not a social forum, so ditch ’em.
If your writing style mimics your in-person conversational voice, you’ve probably used a lot of colloquialisms, which tend to be roundabout and wordy. That’s fluff. Ferret it out and ditch it. Your audience is in a hurry and willing to skip parts to get to the point of the email. Choose those parts for them.
Look for places where you might have repeated yourself—even if it’s in different words. Get to the point of the message, say it once, and get out.
Once you’ve removed some of the unnecessary parts, you might need to massage what’s left so it flows OK and makes sense. Be sure to reread your email a few times before you send it on its way. Just remember: The less work your audience has to do to understand your point, the more likely they are respond the way you want.