Don’t write an email in order to get things off your chest. Instead, think about how the other person needs to use your information, what kind of time limitations they have, and that you respect them.

  • Questions must be separated and put in individual lines so it is easy for the reader to see all the questions they need to answer. If you put questions embedded within a paragraph, they’ll be easily missed and you will end up playing email tag with this person.
  • Any time you reply to an email, change the subject line to indicate what you are sending back to them or what you expect of them. This ends the cycle of e-mails in your inbox that have subject lines like: “Re: Re: Project Johnson.” You can see how having multiple e-mails with just “re:” in the front of the subject line will not help you when you need to retrieve one in a series of five e-mails. You may write an e-mail that goes to a person with the subject line saying, “What I need for the Johnson project by September 12.” They may e-mail you back with the subject line, “Re: what I need for the Johnson project—2 answers and one question for you.” You can see that when receiving this, you would know right away that you need to answer two questions and that they still need some information from you.

Anne’s book, Outcome Focus® Approach: How to Structure Your Message so They Hear It has a lot of examples on openings, closings and everything in between for structuring your message whether it’s written, verbal or nonverbal to get the best outcome. Go to the Store tab and click on Books.