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eDocTalk article

Is email your friend or foe? Five reminders to help get your message read

September 2017

Even though email is still a preferred method of communication, why would someone read your email when you’re competing against, on average, 120 other emails every day? It’s the content and message that improve the odds that it is read. And that’s important for professional communication.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “How to Make Sure Your Emails Give the Right Impression,” offers some easy tips to follow. In the article, author Shani Harmon writes:

  1. Keep it short. Harmon’s research shows that adult attention span is only eight seconds.
  2. Send it to the right people. Who is the essential audience for your message? Don’t waste other’s time by sending it to more people than needed.
  3. Clarity. Be concise, and limit the number of actions and responses you expect.
  4. Get to the point. The first thing the reader sees should be the “ask.” Make it easy for the reader to know why you’re sending the message and what you want them to do. The details can follow.
  5. Be nice. It’s OK to be direct, but there’s a fine line of coming across as rude or insensitive.


Finally, remember that your reader doesn’t get body language, intonation or facial cues from an email. Make sure your emails give the right impression.

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