Whether you are communicating with a client, vendors or staff, a well-written email will save everyone time and frustration. The clearer you are in the first place about why you are writing, what you are writing about and the issues you are dealing with, the fewer emails will be sent back with questions and misunderstandings to clarify.
Your opening statement should summarize the most important facts. In three or four sentences you should be able to explain:
- Why you are writing (in answer to an email? to confirm a conversation? to inaugurate a project?)
- What your memo is about (what do you want your reader to do or believe; any special terms or limits–for example, deadlines)
- Your conclusions, recommendations or call to action
In your opening statement, let readers know exactly what you want to happen next. Don’t wait until the end of a long email to tell them what you intend to do or what they need to do–they may never read that far.
When writing an especially long email, you may want to insert subheadings and end the opening statement with a sentence like this: “The following paragraphs provide more details about the Problem, Possible Solutions, Recommendations and Next Steps.”
These same techniques work for letters, reports, proposals and other materials delivered in either electronic format or hard copy. Let your readers know where you are going up front, and they will follow you from first word to last.
For help organizing reports, proposals, user manuals or marketing collateral, contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications today.