If an email turns out to be more complex than originally thought, with multiple back-and-forth replies, stop the discussion. Pick up the phone instead, or type a one-line reply saying that it’ll be more effective to discuss it offline.
Long, interminable “ping-pong” replies can quickly turn into an incomprehensible email trail. The effect is amplified when others are copied via the dreaded “Reply to All” feature, which you should use very sparingly.
Let’s now review the five steps to better emails.