While in the last post the focus on was that we write a novel worth of email an email and how making our emails five sentences or less can solve this problem. In the same blog I quoted Guy Kawasaki, author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, “proper email is a balance between politeness and succinctness, less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than five sentences wastes time.”
I’m intrigued by this bit of advice from Guy Kawasaki on effective email writing, therefore I am going to focus on benefits of writing short emails.
When writing to recipients, keep your responses as short as possible, but no shorter. Even more important, if an email needs a response that’s going to take more than five sentences or more than 3 minutes of work, then you shouldn’t just automatically reply. If an email requires substantial effort to handle, it should be addressed in order of priority rather than being addressed now just because it arrived in an email.
The advantages to writing short emails:
- It helps you focus on the purpose of your response
- Your emails are clearer and shorter, which reduces miscommunication
- Your emails are faster to create and proof-read, which reduces time spent composing email
- It sets the expectation that short emails are okay, which can result in faster communication.
- If you are worried about offending people, don’t be. A short, quick reply is more appreciated than a long, but delayed, response.
Final Thoughts: Plus, if your recipients are suffering from the email overload problem, your short but sweet emails will be a breath of fresh air. Most replies shouldn’t require more than five sentences. If you can respond to a message in less than 3 minutes, you should do so immediately, then archive.