How do you get an effective message across

Mails: How to Compose Effective Messages

Mails have become an indispensable part of everyday life. In real time in the virtual mailbox, paperless, to be saved in the right place at any time and easily reproduced in order to inform other people about important content. The same thing went and goes with the classic letter by post only to a limited extent. Time and effort are significantly higher, not to mention the price of stamps. So there are good arguments for mail. Unfortunately, they are sometimes poorly written: No or excessive punctuation, little to no structure and other errors mean that they are perceived as annoying time robbers in the work context and rarely achieve their goal. What you can do to compose effective mail ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

What is the meaning of emails?

How are mails read? They are often degraded to snack content - they are consumed on the smartphone on the bus, on the way to the canteen. Some people always have their cell phone close at hand so that they can look at it quickly can, for example, if the person you are talking to is just leaving the table or room.

Since it meanwhile countless communication channels is no longer as important as how and where a text is sent to you - via Facebook, WhatsApp or as a classic email hardly makes a difference.

Get a current, representative survey by the Bitcom digital association Employees an average of 21 emails. 30 percent of all respondents had 30 emails a day, eight percent had 50 or more.

The number of e-mails actually increases with age: younger employees had an average of 15 e-mails a day, in the age group between 30 and 49 years it was 21 e-mails and among those aged 50 to 64 25 business emails per day. This has even increased the importance of emails - four years earlier it was average three emails less.

Mails as time wasters

Regardless of whether you use e-mail for business or pleasure, you usually have something to say. All the more annoying when that does not arrive. Of course, this also applies the other way around, as a recipient, if you just don't understand what the other person is trying to say to you.

Mails are great time wasters. The Bitcom survey only has Average values ​​determined - In some cases, the individual flood of emails may look completely different, i.e. more drastic.

Count on a processing time of three minutes per mail. Then use at least a good hour of working time even with "only" 21 emails per day. If the sender then also writes unclearly worded emails, this tends to increase your workload.

And then there are other tasks. The American scientist Eric Horvitz found out years ago that interruptions by e-mails, in which the employee reacts immediately to the e-mail, were on average him ten to fifteen minutes take time to get back into flow mode afterwards.

An alternative would be to set fixed periods of time for processing emails. Very few emails have to be answered in real time. Think in advance which one Suitable time could be. Most people have their productive phase until around 11 a.m. and fall into a schnitzel coma after their lunch break.

Often, emails can be processed better at times when you are more likely to be creative low point Has. The peak phase should rather be used to work on more mentally demanding tasks. After 11 a.m. and a second time in the afternoon, writing emails might be suitable.

How do you get your message across?

In view of the increasing mail volume, it is important to get through the potential frustration poorly worded emails as low as possible. Nobody really needs more processing time. We have therefore collected some tips for you on how you can achieve what you want with effective emails:

  • Have the goal in mind

    Sounds simple, but in practice, some people start to write before they have understood what they are actually getting at. For the general structure, the first rule is therefore to know exactlywhat you specifically want to say. What action do you expect from your counterpart?

    • Do you expect a call back?
    • Is the mail just for information?
    • Do you need important documents?
    • Should an appointment be made?

    Develop your mail mentally going from the end. Nobody has time to waste, so get to the point right at the beginning and announce your concern pointedly with keywords in the subject. Instead of: "We would like important documents from customer XY to be provided in the Dropbox by tomorrow morning" should you "Document filing in Dropbox required" write.

    In order to save time and to get the desired action from the other person, you should do it for him or her easy as possible do. In your email, specify times when you can be reached, for example, or when an appointment would suit you well. If documents are to be made accessible, you can send a Dropbox link.

  • Pay attention to the correct salutation

    At a time when many people barely know the basics of written communication, e-mails are often not necessary either Attention devoted. Greetings that are too flippant or even left out are a real communication killer. What applies to applications also applies to letters and emails:

    Always address the recipient personally by name. Do a thorough research that you definitely have the correct spelling and use title if necessary. A personally addressed mail also has another advantage: It is less likely to end up in the spam folder. The following salutation options are available depending on the degree of your acquaintance:

    • Dear Professor (last name),
    • Good afternoon Mr / Dr. (Surname),
    • Hello (first name),

    You should only use your first name to address good acquaintances or people with whom you are on good terms. You should refrain from greetings like “Moin” or “Hi”.

  • Start with a personal touch

    Forward mails with something personal a, do not use empty phrases. The moment you discover something in common with your addressee or perhaps give a compliment, he will automatically be more open to you. Similarities make it seem sympathetic and compliments anyway.

    Of course, it always depends a little on who you are writing to - emails to your supervisor, for example, should never be sent to confidential or ingratiating Act. But a friendly remark has not hurt anyone. Even with people we often only know briefly, we are now often connected through various social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. People reveal a lot about themselves there that you could pick up on in an email - for example:

    • "Thank you for the friendly and informative conversation on Monday."
    • “As I have seen, you also have a red house tiger at home. These animals increase the quality of life immensely. "
    • "I think the redesigned website of your company is very successful, great navigation."
    • "I am fascinated by how professionally you tailor your blouses yourself."
  • Come to the point

    After this friendly introduction, however, you should Focus on goal and not gossip about yourself or any sideshow. When making an offer, you need to come up with clear facts. What is the benefit of someone buying your product or service? You have to prepare your text in an appealing way. On the one hand, this includes the language:

    • Avoid complicated expressions.
    • Write in short, concise sentences.
    • Avoid all capital letters.
    • Use exclamation marks sparingly.
    • Work with lists for a better overview.
    • For longer emails, add paragraphs as sensory sections.

    On the other hand, through the Formal layout help to make the text clearer. You can do this through the sensed sections mentioned and through boldface and italics. The same applies to applications: Use sparingly, do not use bold face, italics and possibly another font size in quick succession.

    If you want to emphasize something, you can of course capitalize individual words. They can do just as well blocked write, so put the letters with space. Whole sentences in UPPER CASE or five (!!!!!) closing exclamation marks appear to the recipient as if you were screaming and therefore extremely rude.

  • Formulate a call-to-action

    The ending in mails should be used to create a call-to-action, a Call to action to the recipient to be addressed: What was the reason for your email, what steps are required next? Keep it as specific as necessary: ​​specify deadlines by when you expect an answer or a callback or say goodbye in a friendly manner, for example like this:

    • I once worked out a draft of what the whole thing could look like. If you like the suggestion and you have no comments whatsoever, it could go out to the customer tomorrow. Please let me know by 9 a.m. tomorrow morning. Many Thanks.
    • For further questions I am gladly at your disposal. You can reach me in the house until 5 p.m. on the phone number 123/456789.
  • Use a personal greeting

    To round off your emails successfully, you should choose a personal note for your greeting. As for the salutation, you should exercise due courtesy and not say goodbye à la Bye, ciao, see you or the like to put an end. On the safe side are you always using phrases like With best regards or Sincerely. One reads, however, all the time. These greetings are much more personal because they are friendly:

    • Warm greetings to Hamburg
    • have a nice weekend
    • Best regards to beautiful Munich
    • Sunny greetings

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October 30, 2020Author: Anja Rassek

Anja Rassek studied, among other things, German language and literature at the WWU in Münster. She worked for community radio and a publisher. Here she devotes herself to topics relating to the office, everyday work and studies.

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