In yesterday’s post, we talked about how getting what you want is truly an art within itself. But you know what else is also an art: crafting that perfect email.

Now, just to be clear, I’m not talking about those emails that you send to your family members around the new year to say “yes, i’m still alive thank you for the holiday card.” I’m talking about those emails that really matter – the ones that are sent to your boss, to clients, to prospective clients, or other people who have the power to make impactful decisions. While it’s okay to skimp out on effort when it comes to that email to grandma, it’s probably not a good idea to follow that same strategy when emailing the CEO.

That’s why I’ve put together these few pointers to help you make sure that you’re crafting an optimal email every time.

Make sure the sender is clear

This step has a couple of different approaches. First, you should have a very clear email address to send from. I recommend something such as yourname@yourcompany.com or something similar. That way, when someone receives an email from you there is no question who is the sender. Anything less is, well, sketchy.

Second, if this is your first time emailing this person, be sure to take that first moment to briefly introduce yourself. Your name, how you received their contact info, why you are contacting them, etc. Again, this should be brief. The more concisely you can convey your point of contacting someone, the better.

Don’t get wordy

One of the worst things you can do when crafting an email is make your recipient read a novel. When we sit down to check our messages, we don’t want the lengthy version, we want the quick message so that we can be updated and move on with our day. You may want to include your opinion on each point, but resist that urge. Believe me on this one, if you want to get your message across or even the chance of a response, keep things short and sweet. There’s a time for length, but this isn’t it.

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Be clear about your intentions

Does your message need a response? What about a message that doesn’t need a response? Believe it or not, you should address this either way. If you are seeking a response or action to your message, make that clear in your closing words. Be kind, but address that some sort of action needs to be taken. Although you may think it is clear that a response is needed, your recipient may not take things the same way. Alternatively, if your message does NOT need a response, consider including a simple “this message does not need a response” statement so that your recipient can rest easy knowing that you’re not expecting anything more from them.

Consciously choose a closing statement

How do you close your emails? Yours truly? Best regards? Love? Sincerely? None of these are wrong, but there is certainly an appropriate place for each one. Before you settle upon which closer to use, consider your relationship to the recipient. If you’re emailing someone that you have never contacted before, “love” probably isn’t the most appropriate choice. Alternatively, if you’re emailing your best friend, “Sincerely” might come across as a bit too formal. While there’s technically not a right or wrong choice, there’s definitely a good and better choice based on the circumstances.

Put that signature to work

Of course signing your name is important as you definitely want your recipient to know who is sending the message (although of course this should have already been addressed). But we live in the digital age, so simply signing your name is hardly enough anymore. Now, we can use our signatures to give us credibility by attaching our other work, further information, or alternative means of contacting us (a phone number, for example). While your name technically gets the job done, giving more information is almost expected these day. Use that space wisely.

What keys do you use to craft that perfect email?

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