How to Write Effective Emails

How to write effective emails in military style

Effective building and fostering of business relationships are essential for anyone who wants to achieve success in a corporate world. Knowing how to write an effective email is an invaluable skill in the workplace.

The business world is similar to the military environment where badly written email can cause havoc instead of bringing peace. Emails need to be structured in such a way so that chances of mission’s success get maximized to the fullest.

If you want to be effective in business communication, clear and concise emailing is a must. Improve your writing and learn how to craft the perfect email with military accuracy.

Include keyword in the subject

If you don’t want your emails to get lost in the inbox of a busy professional, incorporate using keywords in the subject lines of your messages. As an example, the following words may be included:

  • ACTION. With this keyword, you make it clear for the recipient that he needs to take a particular action specified in the body of the email
  • SIGN. The signature is required
  • INFO. Here no response is required. The email is sent purely with the aim to inform
  • DECISION. Compulsory for the recipient to make a decision
  • REQUEST. Either approval or permission of the recipient is required
  • COORD. Coordination of actions is needed

You can add extra details and write something like ACTION – Daily Report, REQUEST – Salary Review or SIGN – Signature Is Required Before Noon.

Such subject lines might seem overly forceful but this technique will ensure that your emails will not get lost in the recipients’ cluttered inboxes.

Place the main idea upfront

In a corporate world, time is money and ideally figuring out the purpose of a received email should take seconds. There is a rule of “five Ws”, which implies that for an effective and winning statement you need to include answers on such questions as who, what, why, where and when.

Distilling the most important information in the first paragraph will help you ensure that the receiver quickly grasps the main idea and starts acting accordingly in the shortest terms.

Include background details

After you’ve provided all the important details, it is time to specify the background information more in-depth. Here you can include all necessary data, which fully explains why the decision was taken in the first place and what effect it will have on everyone who is involved in the process.

Be concise

It is no doubt that short emails are much more useful than lengthy ones. Keep that in mind each time when you try to write an important email that requires instant response. The background data can be effectively listed as bullet points.

  • Avoid long emails. If you want your message to be quickly grasped and acted upon, act like professionals from the military field. Be economical and try to fit the content in one pane. No one wants to waste time scrolling down your email without a full understanding of whether it is worth doing.
  • Send links to attachments. Instead of attaching files try sending the links to attachments placed on trusted external websites. The inbox of the recipient will not be clogged and you will reduce the likelihood of reading your documents by an unauthorized person. The website that hosts the attachment will verify that the reader has the correct login details to view the file. Only those who are permitted to see the document will have access to the sensitive information. Besides, trusted recipients will be able to view the newest file version.  
  • Don’t use passive voice. Make sentences shorter by avoiding the passive voice. Overusing it in your email makes your writing more distant and your message gets less clear. Sentence structure, which includes the passive voice, requires more cognitive effort. Your recipient will spend valuable working memory on making sense of the sentence. This decreases the likelihood of getting the message across.

Even though composing business emails is a routine function for many, following simple strategies that are used by military professionals can make all the difference for your business email communications.