This should be required reading for anyone with an email account:
Email, not the web, is the most-used Internet application by transaction volume. It’s also the most misused. Since it’s such an important and often overlooked component of our online lives, I’m going to step away from preaching about the web for a moment and focus on simple steps to make your email discussions more effective.
If you grew up like I did, you were taught how to write a letter. You learned how to write business and casual headings and salutations, state your purpose, make a request, set expectations for a response, and wrap it up with a Very Truly Yours.
But an email is not a letter, and you’re not typing at an IBM Selectric II typewriter. You may look at the days of formal graces in written communication with some sadness, but rest assured that they are as dead as Dillinger. If your purpose is to solicit information or action from another person via email, you must make that clear to them at the earliest possible point in the message.
I get hundreds of emails a day, not counting spam. I know I’m not alone. Email overload is a problem, and it will probably only get worse.
It’s tempting for geeks like me to propose some kind of microformat as a solution: begin subjects with these words, format the first line like that. But email is too widely distributed to corral into a any kind of structure now. All we can do is focus on quick, concise, effective communication.
People differ in how they manage their inboxes, but attention to a few details can help make your messages more usable for everyone. These are the factors I’ve identified that will help you get a quick and valid response:
Read the rest for the factors…well worth the time.