Before you send an email to a colleague, ask yourself one question: What do you want them to do when they get this email?
The best emails are the ones that have a clear next step. Email’s the perfect way to:
- Get a quick answer to a question
- Set up a meeting or call
- Review a document
- Connect two colleagues
And when you send the email, make sure the subject line of your email conveys that immediate action. (For instance: “Here’s the contract for our upcoming work”, or “Can you review this document by Friday?”) Get right to the point, and make sure that the call to action is right there so you get the fastest possible reply.
Email’s great for action, but unfortunately, it’s a lousy place to start a discussion or have a deeper conversation. I’ve always found it far better to have that sort of conversation elsewhere: In person, on the phone, or even via a chat tool, like Slack. If you need that kind of depth, send the email to set up the meeting, but then move things to a better forum.
That illustration is by Katerina Limpitsouni for unDraw.