Writing better work emails Part — 1

First hand experience and learnings.

There is something very elegant and appealing in a well written email. I find it very attractive when someone can put across a point in a very concise and crisp manner. Let’s not talk about abstract terms like crisp but actually see what common ethics and etiquettes one should follow while writing emails.

Rule 1: Subject matters

Subject is the first thing anyone will see in your mail. Independent of the mail client you use, subject line is the first piece of information anyone will get from your email.

Using tags

When you want to give the reader a feel of the nature of your mail, add tags in the subject line. Below are a few examples:

[Confidential] Regarding password update

[Critical] [Urgent] Regarding production server running out of memory

[Alert] Regarding the need to reschedule meeting

[Request] Regarding fair usage policy of the printer

[Info] Regarding the launch of iOS app version 2.1.0

Tags can be the very first thing any reader notices. If you follow a set of tags across all your emails, it will eventually become easier for the reader to prioritize the order in which he reads/responds to the mails even before opening it.

Another good thing about using tags is that it makes it easier for you to search through your mailbox later. You can also use labels and filters but tags do half of the same job for a much less effort.

Rule 2: Don’t miss the context

Whenever you fall into a situation when you need to reach out to a person who has no or little prior context to your problem/concern, always write a one or two point context. This can be in the form of previous mail trails’ gist or any external links.

Context is extremely important especially when you are in an environment where people tend to work on multiple teams/roles/projects. It will help the reader gather some useful information about the task at hand.

Will be following some more rules in Part — 2.