A Great Tip on Email Subjects

Last week I taught Email Intelligence for a favorite client company. When I asked for additions to my 25 rules for email etiquette and efficiency, I got eight good suggestions. Here, with my elaboration, is an excellent suggestion to make email more efficient for your reader:

When you send an email to someone at another company, don’t use their company name in the subject line. Why? They know their company name, and it will not help them recognize, act on, sort, or file the message. Instead, use your company or personal name.

Example: Your company is ABC Corporation. You are writing to XYZ Limited. Change this subject line:

Construction Bid for XYZ Limited: Southeast Pier

to this:

ABC Construction Bid: Southeast Pier

Even though calling the email "ABC Construction Bid: Southeast Pier" will not help you sort the message, it will help your reader handle the message efficiently–and that is more important. If all your messages on this topic start with "ABC" in your subject line, your reader can sort them easily.

Another aspect of this tip is that if you receive a message with an unhelpful subject, change it before you file it. At XYZ, for example, if you received the weakly named message from ABC, you would change it to recognize that it is from ABC before filing it.

If you have guidelines or great ideas on email efficiency, please share them.

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  1. Hi, another way could be use ‘ABC – XYZ – Construction Bid’

    This makes a win-win as far as sorting of emails is concerned.

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