E-mails Should Not be Manifestos

E-mail is not the venue for rambling random thoughts, your latest tirade or manifesto about whatever your brain sparks at the moment. Long emails, especially those without paragraph breaks every several sentences don’t get read. They get scanned. I’ve even caught myself scanning instead of reading when I am pressed for time.

That is why bullet points are your friends. Visually they don’t look like too much to tackle and subconsciously the recipient thinks they can acquire your points in little tid-bits so they are more likely to read your email in its entirety.

* Be sure to breakup your text into paragraphs every couple of sentences. Visually big blocks of text can cause folks to start scanning.

* Use brief and succinct bullet points when covering numerous thoughts or issues so they have a better chance to be absorbed and applied/replied to.

* No need to code HTML bullet points use => or * to separate your points as I did here.

* If you find a topic requires more coverage or priority, have that topic be in its own email so that it is not lost among the numerous other issues.

* If you find that your topic is very detailed, create a document in PDF and send that along as an attachment. This gives the other side the ability to review that topic when they have time and to file/print it for later review.

Better yet, if you find you are being long winded — pick up the phone! At the very least stop and think of the best approach to make sure the other side reads, reviews and absorbs your information — especially if you would like them to reply about the topic at hand. Forget about all the blah, blah, blah you feel you need to get across and pair your emails down to only clear and concise points.

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