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9 Tips to Write Better Emails

These days it’s virtually impossible for membership reps to keep up without the benefit of email.  It’s quick and easy. And, you don't have to be available at the same time as the recipient.  However, it’s this ease of use that can make you susceptible to miscommunicating.

Think Before You Click                          

Before you click send, think about why you are sending the email. What outcome do you hope to attain? If you haven’t talked with the prospect or member in a while, don’t send it.  Make a call instead.  The same holds true if the message will likely lead to a lengthy back-and-forth conversation. Of course, email will be the best option in many cases.   When it is, use these tips to help you communicate more effectively:

Keep Emails Clear and Concise

Miscommunication occurs when your email message is unclear, disorganized, or just too long and complicated. Strive for clarity and brevity in your writing.

"One Thing" Rule

In a face-to-face or phone conversation, covering more topics leads to a more productive exchange. But with email, the opposite is true. The less you cover, the better.  Whenever possible, limit your email message to one thing only.  

Write What You Mean

Ask yourself, “How else could my email message be interpreted?”  When in doubt, reword it.

Less is More

Short words, sentences, and paragraphs lessen the potential for confusion and overwhelming the reader. Review every long word to see if there is a short word that works just as well.  And, make every sentence as short as possible.

Five Sentence Rule

When possible, limit your email messages to five sentences.  Less than five sentences can come across as incomplete, abrupt, or even rude.  More than five sentences risks information overload and confusion.

Consider the Tone of Your Message

Email communication stands on its own without the benefit of hand gestures, voice inflections, or other cues.  As such, it’s easy to misconstrue the intended tone.  Sarcasm and jokes are easily misinterpreted and may even offend the reader.  Using ALL CAPS and Bold text can come across as demanding or rude.

Proofread and Edit

Utilize a spelling and grammar checker.  You can also try reading your message out loud to catch awkward phrasing that you might otherwise miss.

Create an Email Reference File

Pay attention to the emails you send and you’ll likely find that much of what you communicate is repetitive.  Create a file of effective emails that you can cut and paste into future messages to help you accomplish more with less effort.  

As always, we encourage you to practice these techniques, make them your own, and let us know how it goes.

Remember, we’re easy to talk to. Feel free to reach out with questions about these techniques or other issues.

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