Five tips for precise and professional emails that will make life easier for you and your reader

Haben Sie Zeit zum Lesen langer E-Mails? Nein?! Schonen Sie auch die Empfänger Ihrer Nachrichten mit diesen fünf Tipps für kurze, klare E-Mails. Gefunden in Secretary Today - Professionelles Business English für Sekretärinnen und Assistentinnen. Jetzt 1 Ausgabe kostenlos testen!

One day last week, I received 76 emails in the morning alone. Some of them were one-line answers to questions I had asked in a previous mail, a few were newsletters that I skimmed through for useful information. But many of them were about projects I am working on right now, in other words, they were important. Sadly, they were way too long. They were so long, in fact, that I just didn’t have the time to read them there and then.

When I did get around to reading them the next afternoon, some were so complicated that I had to go over them three or four times just to find out if I was being asked to do anything. Phew! That’s exhausting! So I thought it is time to set down my personal favourite 5 tips for precise and professional emails. Here they are. I hope you (and the people you write to) will find them helpful.

1 Fully exploit the subject line

Make things easier for the recipient by making the subject line clear. For example:

  • Delivery delay for order 123 dated April 1.

2 Say what you want

Be absolutely clear about why you are writing, then write this down.

  • This is to ask for your advice.

Viele weitere Beispiele lesen Sie jetzt in der aktuellen Ausgabe von Secretary Today.

3 Write less than 15 words per sentence

Keep your sentences short. This applies to emails and letters. Sentences
with more than 20 words are difficult to understand, especially for other non-native English speakers.

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4 One topic per email – with headings

As a regular reader of Secretary Today, you already know that you should never write about more than one topic in an email. If the topic
has a number of sub-topics, use headings. Here is an example.