More About Email: Some Unwritten Rules

Posted August 16, 2013 by Briana in email, email writing, write, Writing, writing advice, writing skills, writing tips / 0 Comments


I’ve mentioned before how much I love Molly Ford. Her blog is fantastic. It was a pleasant surprise to me to find, in her post for yesterday, that she included a link to an article about some unwritten rules for emails. While I encourage you to check out the link for yourself, I’m including a snippet of it for your benefit. Here’s what The Daily Muse has to say about email:

  1. Your subject line should always be descriptive. “Intro” is not descriptive enough. “Intro: Alex (The Muse) // Jennifer (XYZ Co)” is better.
  2. Keep every email as short as you can; it saves you time and, more importantly, respects the recipient’s time.
  3. The faster you respond, the shorter your response is allowed to be.
  4. Always include one line of context if the recipient isn’t expecting this email. This is as relevant for first-time emails (“This is where we met”) as it is for emails to someone you work with regularly (“This email is about the next phase of that project we’re working on together”).
  5. Put your “ask” or “action items” first in the email, not last, and make them explicit. It should be immediately clear to the recipient what you want.
  6. If there is a deadline, say so. If the request is not urgent, say so.
  7. If you don’t need a response and an email is FYI only, say so.

Some of these tips should be familiar to you by now. After all, I covered some of them in yesterday’s post. But The Daily Muse include several others that I never really thought about. For the full list, click over to the link in the introduction. And check out Molly’s blog, too, while you’re at it. She’s seriously awesome. If you like either of those links, feel free to send the authors an email. Just make sure that you follow these unwritten rules!

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