I’m willing to bet that your business or your organization relies on emails. Am I right? The fact is that most businesses nowadays use email for a lot of different purposes, and they usually do so in parallel; they use email for marketing, for near-real-time client conversations, for ad hoc customer service, for internal communications, etc. The question is: does your email make a difference? Or is it that you do not see the difference regardless of the channel (voice, in person interactions, etc.)?
If you don’t see a difference, or if you think that email is a last-resort solution to communicating, then it’s quite likely a consequence of your writing skills, or lack thereof. Let’s be real: business people spend a third of their day reading and responding to messages and emails. Therefore, any type of writing style that is confusing or sub-par in any way will impact and reduce the messages’ effectiveness along with their so-called conversion rate. The most important thing necessary to ensure that those exchanges are optimal is to master writing skills. You can improve your writing by applying new techniques on a daily basis and correcting your mistakes, which will no doubt help your business grow.
If you agree, then now is the time to improve those writing skills. But what exactly needs to be improved? In this article, I will give you a checklist of 10 things you can do to improve your writing. Where do you start in order to improve those writing skills?
Think Before You Write
Before you start writing anything, stop and think about what you want and what want to say -- which might be slightly different. "What should the person or people I am writing to know or understand after reading this email?" In other words, you need to answer the 5W’s and the How:
- Who: Who is my audience?
- What: What should they understand?
- When: When should that knowledge be used, or when should they recall it?
- Where: Where is the email going?
- Why: Why do they need this information?
- How: How will they use this information?
Experts in every area are bombarded with emails every day, most of which are filled with junk and unnecessary. Save yourself and your reader time by making sure every email you send is relevant and can be applied in the real world in a practical way.
Keep it short
Once you understand what you have to say, write it up in a concise manner. People will be pressed for time and they will appreciate your brevity. Remember how frustrated you feel after filling out the key points and reading the email three times. It wastes energy and time, isn’t it? Keeping things short helps people think about what they are reading. Try to write only the parts that your readers want to read. Generally speaking, you should avoid long paragraphs, which are probably more about what you want the reader to hear than what they want.
Remember your reader: if you find that you cannot communicate what you need to say in a paragraph, then email is likely not the best way to communicate this information. Instead, call the person and talk to them. Shocking, isn’t it?
Eliminate blocking words
When writing an email (or anything else, for that matter), your goal is to be clear and direct. If the recipient needs to use Google to understand what you are trying to say, he/she will be distracted, upset and is likely to miss the point you are trying to make.
"Don't use the five dollar word every time you go for fifty cents." (Mark Twain)
Avoid the hassle of using expansive words in an attempt to sound “good”. Stick to simple words and avoid expressions whenever possible. Not only does jargon make you inary, it also alienates your reader. Instead, write down how you speak. Keep the flow straight and natural. You can also use an online grammar checker: there are plenty available, such as grammarly and prowritingaid. This are excellent services to help you with good title and clear English.
Use the Active Voice
Sentences written with an active voice are more compelling, bold and direct than their passive counterparts. Passive sentences are weak; they are like a handshake. If you try to use more active sentences, your writing will automatically improve.
In an active sentence, the subject performs the action of the verb. In the passive sentence, the subject allows the action to happen. To find the passive voice, look for the verb "before," "like" or "will" before the verb. For example, the "store will be opened after 10 am" is inactive. Instead, say, "The store opens at 10 am."
Always be professional
It can be tempting to be funny or to address some office gossip in an email. However, these additions not only fail to contribute to your message; they also affect your personal reputation. They can easily be misunderstood. While you must allow your voice to stand out and to ascertain your personality in your writing. Yet you have to remain professional. Writing is a balancing act. A good way to validate the appropriateness of your content is answering the question: "Would I feel comfortable with this email if it was trending on Twitter tomorrow?"
Specify your call to action:
Sending your business communications with one purpose; It is rare that you write an informative email. You want your reader to do something: call you back, provide information, and confirm their presence at the meeting. Be clear on what you want and you will find that you get the best results from readers.
Tip: If you need any emergency, talk to the recipient in person. Get up from your desk and go to their office or telephone them. Writing is an important medium, but it does not affect personal conversation if you have to do something.
Use Your Email Subject Line Appropriately:
Your email's subject line is a tool; consider it as the headline . The job of A headline is to be certain the body will get read. Headlines have to be short, direct, powerful, and special, to do this.
The subject line is much more specific, and consequently more likely to be opened and read quickly. It communicates which meeting the author is speaking about, when it's, when attending this meeting and what you might need. Never leave your email subject line blank. Email filters frequently categorize blank subject lines as spam, so fill it out to prevent having your email missed.
Tip: If you merely have to ask a very simple query, use the End of Message (EOM) technique. Just write your question in the email subject line and include"EOM" at the conclusion. This saves your reader time without needing to browse the text that is more 17, because they could quickly respond. For example, your subject line may say, "Will you be attending this Monday's two pm assembly? EOM." Make sure your recipients know before using this technique what EOM means. Then, ideally, they will reply in their own return email's subject line something like,"Yes, I'll be there. EOM."
Stick to One Topic in Emails:
Keep your emails focused on a single point or thought whenever possible. Write a separate email, if you need to tackle a different issue. Focusing on a single topic per email provides your reader moment to process what you are saying and respond directly. It helps them locate archived emails faster and organize their emails more effectively.
To begin with, he has to determine whether Jim wants him to edit the intro, or when Jim is currently going to do it himself; it's not apparent. He then has to confirm he'll be at Monday's meeting, and also remember to bring the accounts draft. Last, he's got to tackle those customer complaints and tell Jim what occurred.
The email address has some important reminders inside, and Steve might want to save it. However, the headline only says, "Monday's Meeting." The headline has nothing to do with the actual subject, if he wants to store it as a reminder to tackle those client complaints. He will have to bear in mind that the reminder to address the consumer complaints was from the email titled"Monday's meeting."
Never Use Email to Deliver Bad News:
Never use email to deliver bad news. Do it if you have to lay off someone on your team or provide feedback that will sound less than rosy. It is simple for misunderstandings to occur through email, a potential that's amplified when you use email to deliver bad news. You can communicate with compassion and empathy, and you can use your body language and vocal tone to communicate your sincerity and intentions. This is something that you can't do via email.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread:
Our last tip to improve your writing skills. Grammar and punctuation mistakes are awkward, and your credibility is hurt by them. Sure, you can rely on spellcheck tools, however, they don't catch everything. Proofread it, once you're finished writing. And, whenever possible, place it away and read it a few hours (or even a couple of times ) later. Giving yourself some space from the writing will help you spot mistakes you might have missed on the first read-through.
Tip: When proofreading, read every sentence carefully. Take the help of George Orwell, who states, "A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to convey? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will likely ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?" If a report or the email is particularly significant, give it to a close friend or colleague to read over before you send it to its audience. A pair of eyes might spot mistakes that you missed. : If you find you need extra assistance with your business writing, use a service such as Grammarly, which scans your text and identifies both straightforward and intricate punctuation mistakes (including properly spelt words used in the wrong context). You also get explanations for each mistake that your writing can boost later on. Also
Tip: If you find you need extra assistance with your business writing, use a service such as Grammarly, which scans your text and identifies both straightforward and intricate punctuation mistakes (including properly spelt words used in the wrong context). You also get explanations for each mistake that your writing can boost later on.