Jeff Su’s “How to Write Better Emails at Work”

I was kinda preparing to roll my eyes at this, but it’s pretty good!

What I like are the actual examples, even if they are made generic. Definitely prefer seeing good/bad examples rather than just stating a tip without backing it up with an example.

This is a good line:

Therein lies the beauty of a well crafted email. Not only does it help you, the sender, come across as more capable by showcasing strong communication skills, but it also saves the read so much of their time by only surfacing information relevant to them.

These are the tips, but watch the video for the context and examples:

  1. Have a “Call to Action” in the subject line (and potentially estimate the time to do it)
  2. Use only one email thread per topic (for context)
  3. Tell people who you are adding/removing from a thread and why
  4. Start with the main point. Even if it needs context, do it below
  5. Summarize in the reply
  6. Hyperlink when possible (gotta love actual linked text vs barfed out entire URLs)

It ends with some kinda cliche all-time-classics like not reply-all-ing on accident (by changing some default settings).

An interesting thing about all this: it’s all about sending email. I like that in one sense. You should be good at sending emails. That’s a good place to be when you’re honing those skills. But in general, I find most people’s actual problem with email is on the receiving side. They get too much, it’s unorganized and overwhelming, they miss important things, anxiety prevents useful replies, etc.

Getting your receiving house in order alone will help your sending as you’ll have more time to focus on it.

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