By Nadia Jones
Have you ever had trouble figuring out the tone of an email message? Maybe the email was short and simple, and you wondered if the person who sent it was angry with you because it was so short and straightforward. Or maybe you’ve received a long, wordy email message from someone and wondered if the detailed nature of their email revealed that they didn’t think much of your cognitive abilities. Because written communication takes nonverbal cues out of the equation, it can be difficult sometimes to truly grasp the tone of an email. And it can be difficult to control the tone of the language you use when you write emails.
If you find that you have some difficulty communicating effectively through email, you may be wondering what you can do to improve your email writing abilities. Here are a few ways you can improve your email writing skills to ensure that your tone is always clear and your message is always understood:
Write the way you speak
Many people write much too formally because that’s what they were taught to do in school. Unfortunately, overly formal emails usually sound cold, off-putting, and a bit like legal documents. Don’t be afraid to use contractions and uncomplicated language in your emails. As you write an email, think about how you would communicate the message if you were talking to the recipient in person. Try to use the same language in your emails as you would if you were speaking. If you do, your emails will seem a lot more natural, and the tone of your emails won’t be so unclear.
Be kind to your readers
Like an author or any other kind of writer, people who send emails have to think about their readers. So, don’t write a twenty paragraph email that could have been condensed into a two paragraph email. Make sure your email subject lines summarize what you have to communicate, so recipients of your emails know what your messages are about before they even open them. If you’re writing an email about something important, don’t leave out any details. Reread all your emails and make sure they make sense and sound toneless for the most part (unless you want to convey certain emotions).
Take an online business communication course
If you find that writing emails and communicating online is particularly difficult for you, you could benefit from taking an online business communication course.
This type of course would teach you proper email etiquette and effective rhetorical strategies you can use as you communicate with business associates and clients online. There are a few online business communications classes that are offered for free online, and there are also some that you’ll have to pay a little bit more to take. Before you sign up for a class, just make sure other online users have said good things about it.
Writing a good email is a lot more difficult than many people believe it is. However, most people can easily learn how to write better emails and become better
online communicators. If you want to start writing highly effective email messages, consider the tips mentioned above, and always reread, edit, and revise your emails before you send them!
About the author
Nadia Jones is an education blogger for an online education website and a freelance writer on all things academia. Nadia uses the written word to share her
knowledge on accredited online college education and the latest news in the educational world. Though Nadia’s mind is always preoccupied with topics of education, she spends her downtime volunteering with middle school students and pitching for her adult softball team. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 7 Tips for Using Email to Spur Sales (rackspace.com)
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- Email Subject Lines That Work: The Secret Sauce (amsterdamprinting.com)