And because every minute counts in the office, nobody wants to waste their time reading unnecessary emails.
That’s precisely why you should think twice before you bombard your coworkers with email blasts.
Yet, if it’s absolutely necessary that you get the attention of all your busy colleagues, a company-wide email may be your best (or only) option — but only if you do it right.
“You want to be one of those people who shares information that’s appropriate, timely, and shared in a way that’s understandable,” says job coach Lea McLeod. Sending memos too often or about trivial subjects will make coworkers less inclined to pay attention to what you’re saying, if they open it at all, she says.
Follow these five steps to keep your emails effective and constructive, and to ensure they don’t get deleted before they’re ever read:
1. Write a specific subject line.
The subject line will determine if workers open and read your email or ignore it, says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career coach with SixFigureStart. A clear, compelling subject line will entice people to open it, while a boring or generic one will get lost within a flood of other messages. Ceniza-Levine advises to also include any deadlines in the subject as well, so coworkers know how urgent the information is.
Another tip: limit the subject line to 10 words or less.
2. Include a clear objective and any deadlines at the beginning.
Concisely state the purpose of the message and any action items needed from the get-go. Make it easy for your reader to understand exactly what this message is asking of them, whether it requires merely reading to the end or responding with additional information. “A lot of people will write like the story is unfolding, and it actually should be the inverse, because by the time I get to what I need, they have exhausted their attention span,” Ceniza-Levine says.
3. Use bullets.
Once you’ve stated your purpose, write the bulk of the information as easy-to-digest bullet points. Break up any complex background information into smaller chunks to keep things as simple and organised as possible. “Keep in mind that people get hundreds of emails a day,” McLeod says. Don’t take up more of their time than you need to.
4. Highlight important points.
“The actual action steps, the deadline, and if there are specific items within the background information that people need to perform the action — you need to bold and underline those,” Ceniza-Levine says. Making important information easy to spot allows people to skim the email, yet still understand the main points if they’re short on time.
5. Double-check the recipient list.
Only send office-wide emails when absolutely necessary. Know exactly who needs to receive the information and only send it to those people. If you constantly bombard the entire staff with information that doesn’t apply to them, chances are they will become less inclined to pay attention when you eventually do need a response. “If it’s an FYI message and there’s no action, you can include other people, but really think about what’s the value added to them,” says McLeod. If there isn’t much, take them off the list.
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