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Writing Effective Emails for Better Business Communication

When I get an email that has multiple paragraphs I look at it, decide I don’t have time to read it, and close it out, promising to go back to it later when I have more time, which never happens.

If you want your emails read, shorter is better. 

Here are a few tips for writing effective emails that are more likely to be read:

  1. Put a specific subject in the subject line that says what the email is about.
    1. This does not include your name. We already know your name.
    2. Example: “Meeting” (that’s not specific). Instead try: “Meeting to agree upon February goals.”
  2. Highlight and bold important parts of the email.
    1. Limit this practice so what’s bolded and highlighted stands out.
    2. If everything is bold, nothing stands out.
  3. Use bullets.
  4. Use the fewest number of words possible. 
  5. Use links that send readers to relevant information.
  6. Offer to provide additional information, if desired.

The shorter your emails are, the more likely they are to get read. You can always offer additional information, but readers won’t get to the detail if they never read the email.  When it comes to writing effective emails, shorter is better.


Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training firm that is bringing candor back to the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships that Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and does training throughout the U.S. Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at

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2 Responses to “Writing Effective Emails for Better Business Communication”

  1. Sandy Kanigowski says:

    I’ve been using bullet points in my emails for the past few years – definitely gets more attention and folks tend to reply to ALL the information requested.
    Thanks for these weekly inspirations.

  2. Ernest says:

    I will start using these few tips on the Vey first Day of next week.
    Thanks a lot. It makes sense.

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