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Effective Email Communication in the Workplace Drives Business

6 min read

Despite rumors you may have heard of email being dead, it’s very much alive. In fact, a whopping 86% of professionals prefer email over other forms of communication. The ability to deliver effective email communication in the workplace, therefore, remains an essential business skill.

Reasons for email’s ongoing popularity include:

  1. Email provides an easily searchable virtual paper trail of conversations and interactions.
  2. Email is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
  3. Email allows a message to be communicated to several recipients at once.
  4. Email gives recipients time to think about the content and thoughtfully respond to it.

The fact that many professionals do not buy into a “faster is better” mentality, which real-time chat platforms like Slack and other, newer forms of communication necessitate, is also contributing to email’s popularity. In addition, many professionals do not appreciate the invasiveness of real-time chat, which is requiring companies to establish rules and boundaries regarding its usage. Real-time chat is also not effective for companies that have global teams in different time zones.

Read on to learn more about effective email communication.

Why the Ability to Write an Effective Email Matters

The content and tone of emails have a far-reaching impact.

  • Personal Brand: How well you write emails affects how you are perceived. The emails you write are a representation of you that gets forwarded around, printed, and talked about. Imagine every email you’ve ever sent printed out and stored in a binder. Would you be happy with the way you come across? Do they capture the personal brand you wish to convey?
  • Profitability: Emails impact businesses’ bottom line. When written well, they increase productivity by ensuring that a desired goal is achieved. When badly written, they can slow down productivity.
  • Corporate Culture: Emails with poor tones that are incomplete and unclear can feed feelings of disengagement, paranoia, and distrust. Such feelings can lead to staff turnover.

5 Tips for Writing a Well-Constructed Email

Being a clear and effective communicator takes planning. When writing an email, it’s important to ensure it encompasses the following elements:

    1. To the Point: To match increasingly short attention spans, emails must be as concise as possible.
    2. Goal-Focused: It’s important to have a goal in mind that you wish to achieve by writing an email. This goal needs to be made clear within the email and the content should tie into it.
    3. Well-Organized: Your email needs to be organized in a logical manner, which makes the information it contains easily digestible and visually scannable.
    4. Tone-Appropriate: Because they are written, the tone of an email can be misinterpreted. It’s important that your words convey a tone that’s appropriate for your audience. It’s also a good idea to assume recipients will take everything literally.
    5. Clear Action Plan: Action items can be lost within an email if they are not made clear. It’s a good idea to create a designated action items/next steps section that bullets out each action item along with the name of who is responsible for it and when the task is due.

LEARN HOW LEADERS WRITE STRATEGIC EMAILS. DOWNLOAD WRITE LIKE A LEADER.

9 Components of an Effective Email

The following are nine email elements that should be included in every email.

      1. Subject Line: The subject line should compel the recipient to open your email without being misleading. It should consist of 3 to 8 words relating to the content.
        • Examples:
          Your Order Will Arrive on Aug. 10
          Report Revisions Needed: Please Provide by 3PM
      2. Greeting: Your greeting should be professional, concise, and ideally address the recipient using their first name.
        • Examples:
          Good morning,
          Hi Sheri,
      3. Brief Pleasantry: A single opening line that makes a connection between you and the recipient will make your email seem more personal and can provide context.
        • Examples:
          It was so nice to meet you at the networking event yesterday.
          I hope you’re having a nice morning.
      4. Purpose: So as not to overwhelm the recipient, clearly and succinctly state the purpose of your email.
        • Examples:
          Can you join our kickoff meeting Wed.?
          Do you have any revisions to the marketing strategy?
      5. Additional Information: Some business emails necessitate providing the recipient with additional background information. It could be more details regarding a request or a link to helpful resources. When possible, it’s great to provide additional information in a format that breaks up the text such as a video.
      6. Call to Action: Include a specific call to action in the last paragraph. It should address the specific action you’d like the recipient to take and when they need to take it by.
        • Example:
          If you have any changes you’d like made to the meeting agenda, please send them to me by 5pm this evening.
      7. Sign Off: A friendly closing message concludes your email and helps you to connect with the recipient.
        • Examples:
          I look forward to receiving your feedback.
          With appreciation,
      8. Signature: The end of the email includes a sign off of your name. Most people only sign off with their first name since emails today typically have a pre-formatted contact block featuring the sender’s full name and contact information that automatically appears at the very bottom of the email.
      9. Attachments and Links: Any attachments or links referenced within the email must be included. Be sure any links take the recipient to the right page and that attachments are attached.

Examples of Effective Emails

The following are examples of e-mails written to achieve specific results.

Internal Email

Subject: Marketing Report Revisions Needed

Greeting: Hi John,

Brief Pleasantry: I hope you’re having a good day.

Purpose: Thanks for pulling together the marketing report. I reviewed it this morning and would like you to add a slide about our conversion objectives.

Call to Action: Would you please add the slide and send it to me by 3pm tomorrow?

Sign-Off: The report is looking really good. I appreciate all your hard work.

Signature: John

External Email

Subject: Shop Floor Scheduling Solution Discussion

Greeting: Hello Marcy,

Brief Pleasantry: It was a pleasure to meet you at the Manufacturing & Technology Conference.

Purpose: I’m following up to set up a time for us to discuss our Protected Flow Manufacturing solution, which will help you deliver on-time, in less time, every time by dramatically improving your shop floor scheduling.

Additional Information: ABC Manufacturing has improved their shop floor scheduling by 50% since using our Protected Flow Manufacturing solution. Hear what their CEO has to say about his experience. (link to case study)

Call to Action: Please let me know if you have an hour block of time open this coming or the following week for us to delve into how Protected Flow Manufacturing can help transform your shop floor scheduling process.

Sign-Off: I’m looking forward to speaking with you again.

Signature: Jeff

When Email is Most Appropriate

Email is ideal for:

    • Sharing detailed information and data
    • Ensuring there’s a record of your communication
    • Providing directional, important, and timely information
    • Delivering short status updates

Email and Sensitive Topics

When it comes to communicating issues that can be awkward or emotionally sensitive, nothing is better than a face-to-face conversation. The reality, however, is that due to different time zones, face-to-face conversations are not always possible. If you must address a sensitive topic via email rather than in-person, be sure to use the five elements of a well-constructed email and to do the following in order to avoid the recipient being sent into a tailspin.

  • Think About the Recipient: We tend to give people information we want them to have, without thinking of the information they need in order to accomplish what we would like them to do. We also don’t always think about how we would like them to react, think, or feel. Thinking of these things when writing a sensitive email helps to convey the appropriate content and tone.
  • Provide Context: One of the worst things to do is to ruffle someone’s feathers by sending them an email that fails to provide them with context — the reason they are receiving your message. It’s helpful to imagine the questions the recipient will have about the message you are sending to them and then to address the most important ones within the email.
  • Offer a Time to Connect “in Person”: Offer several days and times to connect with the recipient via phone or video chat that are convenient for the recipient, even though they may not be convenient for you. Invite them to propose alternative times as well.

Ensuring Effective Email Communication Company-Wide

To ensure communication via email is resulting in increased productivity and morale, it’s important to establish company-wide guidelines regarding how to write effective emails and to achieve buy-in regarding the process. Perhaps the fastest way to do this is to hire a communications consulting firm to design an internal email training program. The other option is to enroll employees in proven, effective third party writing programs that teach them how to write reader-centric emails that get attention, influence recipients, use email etiquette, and achieve desired results.

Email’s Bright Future

Because effective email communication results in increased profitability and a happier corporate culture, it’s clear that email is here to stay. In fact, based on The Future of Digital Communication study, even Gen Z’s email usage will increase as members attend higher education institutions and enter the workforce.

Whether you’re charged with ensuring team members at every level of your company are effectively communicating, an early career professional, or a member of senior leadership, Ariel Group offers a variety of programs that teach powerful and authentic communication skills ranging from writing attention-getting emails that drive action to leadership presence. Contact us today to learn more.

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