6 little things you can do to improve your email communication skills

How to Have Better Email Etiquette
How to Have Better Email Etiquette

Anyone can get to the point or close out an email quickly.

You don't need an English degree to write emails. That's obvious to most of us who have to wade through a mountain of messages, many of which don't exactly get to the point and include extraneous information.

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To help you de-clutter your missives, try a few of these tips. You might be surprised when people thank you.

1. Confirm receipt.

This might seem like a waste of energy, and it's not always necessary. Yet, if someone arranges a meeting or says you are hired for a job, send a quick confirmation. Otherwise, to the other person, it feels like there is something left unresolved.

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2. Take out at least one word.

Before you hit send, scan through your email and remove at least one word. Look for the word "that," because you can almost always remove it. Get rid of extraneous words that just make you look wordy (e.g., the word "just" I added to this sentence).

3. Simplify your signature.

A long signature isn't necessary unless you're an academic and need to state all of your credentials. Make it short and simple, so your recipient can find your phone number and address easier. A long signature weighs down the message.

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4. Get to the point.

Remove the fluff. Don't say "I know you are busy but... " when you can just dive in and help that busy person understand your message. Too often, emails have too much introductory material. Short, concise emails are easier to read and get better results.

5. Zap the tech jargon.

You can't speak Klingon to a Romulan. (Especially if you are not a Star Trek fan.) Replace tech jargon with actual words people will know. This even applies to folks in technical fields, because jargon is still a shortcut for explaining what you mean.

6. Close quickly.

Remember how people read emails. They flick and scan. If you add too much info at the end about the multiple ways to contact you or your upcoming schedule, you make scanning more difficult and time consuming. Sign off and send away.

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