Part 1: Better EmailsPart 2: Better ConversationsPart 3: Better Meetings

Make good use of the subject line.

A short summary of the email content will give your recipient the opportunity to decide if they have time to read it now, save it for later, or ignore it all together. Make sure you accurately tell them what the email is about in a short sentence, so as not to waste their time. 

A bad example of a subject line would be something like;

 ‘I need your advice.’ 

This is not specific enough and could be about anything. Furthermore, it sounds urgent, which could be a problem if the advice you seek isn’t actually that urgent. A good example would be; ‘How should we deal with the server issue?’ Another way you could make better use of subject lines is by introducing a simple code throughout the office, such as QQ, for a quick question, QC for a quick chat. So it would look like this; ‘QC: How to deal with the server issue.’ This way the recipient knows the email contains something you both need to have a chat about, rather than being able to answer it quickly via email, and they know exactly what it’s about. 


Keep messages brief and concise.

Convoluted messages can put readers off. Re-read your message before you send it, and cut down pointless words to make it easier to read. You’d be surprised how many words can be removed from a sentence and it still make sense. Also, make sure not to repeat yourself.


Check the tone.

We’ve all misread a text or email by reading it with the wrong tone. But it can be avoided by using the right words. Try using positive words instead of negative ones, and add words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ 

For example; ‘This needs approving no later than 4pm today or it won’t go to print in time.’ Could be worded as; ‘Please can we get this artwork approved before 4pm so we can get it to print on time? Thank you.’



Basic spelling and fact mistakes just make you look bad and can easily be avoided. Always give it one last read through, and if possible, get a colleague to look it over too, as they might spot something you missed.


Ask for just one thing.

People with little time often scan an email and respond only to the last point or question in the email, as it’s freshest in their mind. Cramming an email with too many questions will only overwhelm the recipient, and most of your questions will often be ignored.

Furthermore, long emails are usually put to aside in favour of shorter emails, with the intention of reading them later. This means you’re less likely to get a quick response, if at all.


Don’t use email to have a full conversation.

If you have a lot to say, schedule a chat via email instead of relaying all of the information in one email.


Don’t send an email unless you’d be comfortable saying it to the person’s face.

You might feel more comfortable sending that resignation letter via email, but there are some instances where that can work against us, because emails make us more impulsive. We’re quicker to hit the ‘send’ button than we are to go over to someone’s desk to speak to them, which means you should only send an email when you’re confident telling that person what you want to say. So take the time to think your message through, and don’t make any emotional decisions. Do you really want to quit, or do you just want to inform your boss you need to make some adjustments to your work environment?

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