How to Write Effective Email – Tip 4

This is my last effective email tip!

The Basics

Keep it short. After you write your email go back and ruthlessly cut. Do they really need that bit of information? I don’t want people to strip it so much that the email sounds like it came from a zombie, but plenty of people manage to convey personality with 140 character-max tweets. Edit.

Use paragraph breaks. There’s nothing more daunting for the email-receiver than one big, unbroken block of text. Break it up!

Identify yourself. If you’re writing someone who doesn’t know you, tell them your name and maybe a line or two about who you are. (I often forget this one myself.)

Say thank you. If someone does help you in some way, say thank you afterwards. It shocks me how few people say thank you to me after I’ve done them a favor. I honestly don’t help people for the “thank you’s” but it does take me aback, I must admit. Maybe because it was so easy to email me and ask they think it’s just as easy for me to do whatever? Oh god, now I’m wondering if I forget to say thank you too. I’ll bet I do. I suck! Who am I to be giving advice … oh wait, this isn’t the Reasons I Hate Myself post.

Tip 3 here.
Tip 2 here.
Tip 1b here.
Tip 1a here.

Watching the game.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “How to Write Effective Email – Tip 4

  1. Stacy,
    I really loved this series. Very helpful. Do you think you could also do a series, sometime, on how to do good research on the Internet? Even with a library degree, I have never been a focused researcher. From reading your books I know you’re a great researcher!

  2. Oh! That might be a fun one. I love the hunt! I don’t know that I’m all that good at it, I’m mostly dogged. Every time I research a particular subject I learn about new sources and databases that I didn’t know about before.

    And thank you for the compliment about my email tips!

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