Mar 09 2009
We’ve all read numerous great posts about effective email marketing. Keep it short, Use obvious calls-to-action.
What about writing effective internal emails, though?
I know, I know. It’s not as important as our external emails and so, it takes a backseat. Understood. I have to tell you, though, we all need to have a refresher course in effective internal email writing.
My top 5 internal email pet peeves:
- The email goes on and on and on and on and on and on. And on.
- Entire paragraphs are bolded or emphasized.
- The font colors, sizes, and styles are ever-changing.
- The thread is 20 emails long.
- Clip art is used when it doesn’t need to be (and, I’m sorry, it very rarely needs to be).
Ok, before I get yelled at, I fully acknowledge that I’m certainly not perfect. Far from it. The above pet peeve I’m usually guilty of is #1.
Will you join me in making an effort to write more effective internal emails?
Here are some tips.
- Before you write a dissertation, ask yourself:
- Do the recipients of this email *need* to know everything I’m writing here?
- Is there somewhere else this information resides that I can link to instead of reiterating it in an email? (Intranet anyone?)
- How can I structure this long email better to be more readable – bulleted lists, correct emphasis, breaking up paragraphs.
- If you bold more than 3 or 4 words in a paragraph, the emphasis loses all effectiveness. Only emphasize necessary words.
- Multiple colors, fonts, sizes, and styles are rarely effective.
- If the email thread is more than 5 emails long, delete the unnecessary threads. If they’re all necessary, maybe email isn’t the right place for the discussion. (Again, Intranet anyone?)
- People might disagree with me here, but, like the fonts and colors, clipart is very rarely necessary or effective in internal emails. All it does is add to the file size.
Hopefully if your university or unit has an Intranet you’re internal email is getting better. We just launched our Intranet at the beginning of this year and I think it’s already working to help the email madness.
Am I overreacting? Possibly. Maybe it’s my old journalist roots coming out. I’m not sure. I just think writing ineffective internal emails can lead to lost productivity and frustration.
… and don’t get me started on replying-to-all …
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