« Should I Share My Wise Criticism? | Main | Business Writing Priorities and Promises »

October 19, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Mike Consol

A couple from me, Lynn.

>> If you’re sending a report or other long-form piece of writing, put it in an attached and handsomely formatted file. It’s easier to read, holds its formatting regardless of the recipient’s e-mail browser, and adds gravitas to your document.

>> Remember that e-mail is company property. It is NOT private and it IS admissible in court. So think twice before creating a “paper” trail.

>> Don’t try to be funny. Without the benefit of vocal inflections, facial expressions and body language it will likely fall flat or offend your colleagues.


Great tips, Lynn! I also like Mike Consol's additions, particularly regarding humor.

This post reminds me that it's about time to review Lynn's 110 Tips!

Jody Bruner

Hi Lynn, These are great reminders. Here's a tip I find useful: If your subject line is too difficult to write, it's probably because you're trying to do too much with one email. Stick to one topic/issue per email. Sometimes that means you have to send more than one message to a recipient.

But the benefits are first that the subject line gives a preview of the content and makes the message easier to file and retrieve. Second, you're more likely to get a response. Sometimes when you receive an email with a laundry list of questions, you sit on it until you can respond to all the questions, not wanting to send a partial reply.


This is a tip for when you receive email from someone who isn't following these great tips when they send the message.

When I get a message with a subject that isn't clear (e.g., "I need your help!"), I edit the subject line myself to make it clear. Then I save the message with the new subject line so that when I file it away, I'll be able to tell what it is six months down the line.

In Outlook, you just open the message in a new reading pane, type over what's in the Subject line, and Save (Control+S or File>Save).

Business Writing Blog

Hi, Mike. Thanks for the valuable tips. Let me build on yours about attachments:

Be sure your readers can open them. Many people still use Office 2003, and they can't open Office 2007 documents.

Hi, Jody. You are so right about subject lines. I find that people use general subject lines when they are including too much. For example, if the subject is "New Conference Center," the email is likely to be several screens long and cover many topics. It is much more effective to have each slice of information in a separate email.

Hi, RJ. How efficient! I bet your inbox is empty too. I am wondering whether you ever change the email subject when you reply. I do when the person's subject has nothing to do with the current topic

Thanks for your reminders!



These are really very nice tips which you have given and This will be really very helpful for all.Thank you very much for giving such a good information.

The comments to this entry are closed.