The Essential Leader’s Guide to Writing Better Emails

Writing great emails is one of the best things you can do for your team (and everybody else) as a leader.

It may not seem like such a big deal to write effective emails, but given the sheer amount of emails being sent in the workplace at any given moment, bad emails can have a dramatic effect on the way your team functions.

This Mashable article claims that 144.8 billion emails are sent every day (as of 2012), yet another Mashable article here found that only 14% of them are classed as “important” for work.

Additionally, 28% of the average worker’s time is spent in their email inbox. That’s a lot of time. Let’s do a quick calculation. Let’s assume that if you wrote clear and concise emails for your team, reducing email ping-pong and cut down the amount of non-useful emailing, we could make a time saving of 5%.

28% of a worker’s day is spent on email, which amounts to 2.1 hours per day (based on a 7.5 hr day).
5% less means we cut this time down to 1.995 hours per day.
Over a working year (12 months x 20 days per month), we can expect a time saving of 25.2 hours per year. That’s basically 3 days’ worth of working time per year, per person.

The benefits to writing good emails are not only in productivity, however. Lack of clarity and conciseness in emails can also cause confusion and increased stress.

This article from the Daily Mail found that people in the study:

…became more stressed when they received emails which were irrelevant, which required an immediate response, or which distracted them from their work.

Reply-all madness

Personally, the place where I currently work has an alarming amount of “reply-all” emailing, with an organisation size of around 300. A lot of these emails contain “in-jokes” and banter between individuals I’ve never even met. If I’m annoyed, I’ll bet others are too.

When leaders put up with this behaviour, they clearly haven’t thought about the potential impact that these emails are having on productivity every day.

Organisational spam

Let’s not forget the company-wide spam which makes its way around many organisations every day. You know, the email with the current happenings around the company, 90% of which aren’t relevant to you, if you’re in a large organisation. The problem is that organisational leaders seem to believe they are “communicating” with their employees. I call bullshit on that. You aren’t communicating unless the readers are engaged, read your message and find it useful.

[Tip for those using Microsoft Outlook. Right-click on an email and select “Ignore” from the popup menu. This will automatically move all items relating to that email thread to the Deleted folder. This trick has changed my life — try it.]

Read the Ultimate Leader’s Guide to Writing Better Emails

You don’t want to be the type of leader who endorses this emailing anarchy or sends poor quality emails. That’s why I’ve written this simple guide for leaders to write better emails. It is included below for your reading pleasure.

The Ultimate Leader’s Guide to Writing Better Emails

Originally published at on December 31, 2015.