So, as it's the season for giving, why not be generous and make the emails you send a delight for others to receive? I'm sure your emails are a joy already, but just in case you want to make them even more special here are three things you can do to give the gift of great email:
1. Put what you want them to do at the top
If the email is about a meeting on Friday at 2pm then this needs to go into the subject line, e.g. Meeting to review favourite emails of the year: 2pm Friday.
By the way, this sounds lovely, thanks for inviting me.
Make sure you re-state this action at the top of the body of the email in case they don't make it to the end...you're still here. Yay!
2. Little chunks are better than one big lump
Think of chocolate (sorry). Most chocolate comes in chunks or blocks. It's easier to consume than just biting into one large slab. I haven't actually tried to bite into one large slab of chocolate, but I am prepared to give it a go. Do you know a good dentist?
If you keep your ideas chunked into blocks, lists, and self-contained paragraphs, they are simpler to follow and digest. Delicious!
3. Delete the first line of your paragraphs
Ouch. Yes. I mean delete them. To be fair this is a flexible rule - you do need to check things still make sense without that first line. Here's the thing: the value of most paragraphs is at the end, not the beginning. Go back and read an email you recently sent - you'll see it's usually the last line of a paragraph that delivers the point. The beginning is often just a warm-up. So go ahead and cut it.
Removing your first sentence instantly makes your writing lean and energised. Kapow!
There we go. Three things to make emails more delightful to receive. Please do spread the joy of great email this season and know that your recipients will thank you.
*Next time we'll be looking at how to remedy inboxes that are over-stuffed with email-excess. Like all the best diets we won't be starting that until the New Year.
Q: What do robots put at the bottom of their e-mails?
A: Yours tin-cerely.
Let me know your feedback and suggestions for future editions. Just reply to this message and your email will get straight to me.
Learning Points is now taking a break. The next edition is out on Tuesday 7 January 2020. See you then.
In the meantime wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!