How to Write Effective Email Correspondence
Effective email correspondence will help you connect and collaborate with colleagues. The main body of your email will provide the most information to the receiver. This information needs to not only be provided in the most logical way possible but also in a way that makes it easy to understand.
If the main body of your email is incoherent and confusing, then this can either result in your email getting ignored or leading to a lot of back and forth for clarifications.
Email subject lines and greetings will always be important because they set the stage for your email. But, once they’ve done the job of getting the recipient interested, the actual information will be provided by the body of the email.
In simple words, the subject line and the greetings are trailers for the centerpiece that is the body of your email.
So, the purpose of the body of your email is to present the relevant information most logically and sensibly to the recipient. And, when a response is required, the purpose of the body of your email is to persuade the recipient to give that response.
Effective Email Correspondence: The Inverted Pyramid Technique
This is why your approach with the opening sequence needs to be the same as a professional journalist. Journalists use a technique called the “inverted pyramid.” This technique requires you to put the most important information first and then mention things in decreasing order of importance.
The trick here is to give the bottom line first in a sentence or two. The following are some examples:
- If it’s a job application, you can write, “I’m writing to apply for the position of assistant manager advertised in XYZ publication,”
- If someone referred you for the vacancy, you need to mention that by saying, “Mr. John Doe advised me to apply for the vacant position of Sales Manager in your company.
- If it’s about a project or order, you can write, “This is in reference to “Project ABC” or “Project ABC Next Steps”
- If it’s an invitation or scheduling email, you can write, “We would like to invite you to the Annual Pie Hurling competition to be held on February 30th…”
- If you’re introducing yourself, you can write, “My name is ABC and I would like to introduce myself as your relationship manager at Tinder”
Answer Their Questions & Elaborate
Once you’ve established the baseline with the opening sequence, it is time to provide more supporting information to improve your email correspondence. The best way to do this is to start with the baseline and then work backward with your reasoning, justifications, or flow of thought.
The sentences or even paragraphs that follow, though, will change based on the purpose of the email. These paragraphs are important because they will prevent needless back and forth for clarifications and explanations.
To make this work, you will need to get into the head of the reader and pre-empt any questions that they may have about your opening sequence. Let’s see some examples.
- If you’re applying for a job, you can add information such as when the advertisement was published. You can even give a very brief cover letter including why you’re interested in the position and why you’re suitable for the job.
- If someone recommended the job vacancy to you, you can provide further information about the individual such as his current designation and even his phone number.
- If you’re asking for the project deadlines to be extended, you can explain why you feel this is required and share more details about delays or problems the project has been facing.
- In the case of an invitation, you can explain where the event will be held, what is expected from the receiver, how they should confirm their participation, and what would be expected from them if they decide to participate. If the event repeats regularly, its history can be shared as well.
- Since it is unlikely that you would introduce yourself to someone without an objective, you can share your objective after the first sentence. A customer service manager, for example, can explain what services he can provide to the receiver.
Keep Your Email Correspondence Concise
While it is important to provide as much information as possible in the body of the email, you shouldn’t go overboard with it to your email correspondence clear and concise. It is very easy to follow the flow of information in your head and put all of it down in the body but you need to sort through all that information and only share the bits that are relevant to the receiver. Here are some examples of overzealous information sharers.
- If you start explaining how much time you spent finding the vacancy or writing the cover letter or how bad your previous job was, you’re rambling.
- If you detail how highly your reference thinks of you, how much you respect them, or the actual conversation that led to the recommendation, you’re providing too much information.
- If you start detailing how difficult your project team is to work with, you’re not only giving irrelevant information but also being unprofessional.
- If you start sharing how many invitations have been sent or how the event is being organized, you’re giving information that is useless to the reader.
- If you start describing your career path in the introduction email, then you’re wasting the receiver’s time.
Clearly State What You Expect from the Reader
At the end of the body of your email, you have to clearly state what you expect from the receiver to prevent any confusion in your email correspondence. This does two things. First, it re-affirms the purpose of your email, and second, it subliminally pushes the receiver to do what you want from them.
It is also important that the final part of your email body is polite and positive to create the right lasting impression. Let’s see some examples.
- In the case of job applications, a simple “Looking forward to hearing from you” is a good closing statement.
- If you want the project deadlines to be extended, you can say, “Please let me know as soon as the decision is made on the extension”
- If you’re inviting a guest, you can write “Hoping for positive confirmation from your end,” and if you’re inviting participants, you can say “Please send your applications to the following email address”
- When introducing yourself, you can finish the email by, “Please feel free to get in touch with me in any of the following ways”
To summarize, effective email correspondence means creating email content that can be easily read and understood. The email body can be divided into three segments. The first sentence or two provides the most important information to the recipient and the second segment supports the first couple of sentences and preempts any questions the receiver may have, while the final segment tells the receiver what the sender’s expectations are.
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:
Generational Gaps: Break Barriers in Email Communication
Using Emails for Collaboration Among Employees
Work humor: do’s and don’ts in business emails
Write Really Good Emails with Effective Subject Lines