Mar 31, 2010 by Lindsay Gower
Let’s look at ways to write e-mail messages that get results.
When you are sending information that you want your readers to act upon, and that’s the reason for most business e-mails, you want your readers to understand the message as you mean it to be understood.
First, always read your e-mail before you hit the Send button. Re-reading helps you correct typos and spot inaccuracies so that you’ll make at least a neutral impression rather than a bad one.
While re-reading your e-mail, consciously look for words that you can delete. Deleting unnecessary words gives your message the simplicity that increases clarity.
(Not every “unnecessary” word needs to go, use expressions that convey your personality! Flavor are acceptable in any e-mail messages. It’s the confusion and ambiguity you want to get rid of.)
Superlatives are superfluous
If you overuse superlatives, very, big and other suc, they become like Confederate money: Worthless and, thus, ignored.
Our group is bound to be a major player in the …..
Why is major needed? Would people assume you want to be a minor player?
It’s extremely important that we hit the deadline…
If it’s important to hit the deadline, important is the word you need. If, for some reason, it is extremely important, explain why. Don’t devalue words by prefacing them with a superlative. A word such as important can pull its own weight. Save the superlatives until you truly need them.
Don’t repeat yourself
Take care that you don’t tell your readers what they already know:
The new bricks are heavier in weight than the previous batch.
Yeah, we know that heavy refers to weight. Here are more examples of redundancies you can scratch out:
Pastels colors are popular this spring.
I’ll begin the meeting precisely at 9:00.
There was a beetle in the pasta! We left the restaurant at that point in time.
With Generally and Usually, provide an explanation or variable (”Usually…but…”).
We usually eat lunch at noon.
That means We eat lunch at noon. Why say more? Unless you need to say:
We usually eat lunch at noon, but will make an exception for President Obama’s visit.
Use currently (and its cousin, at this point) sparingly. Most sentences work without it. Try any of these sentences without currently, and you’ll see the meanings stay the same:
Currently, our entrees start at $12.95.
Currently, I live in Pleasant Hill.
Currently, Madison is dating Neil.
You might keep currently if the next sentence indicates that the times are a’ changin’:
Currently, Madison is dating Neil. But Pablo asked her to the prom and she said Yes!
Next time: Commonly misused words. Using them correctly will improve the clarity of your e-mails message.