Get Your Point Across Quickly in Emails

Email is virtually inescapable, especially in the professional world. In many organizations, it’s essential. Ideally, you should keep yours as concise as possible. Here are some tips for getting your message across efficiently and effectively:

  • Start with a salutation. When beginning a message chain, especially in the morning, a little “hello” or “TGIF” goes a long way.
  • Choose one topic and stick to it. For example, the central topic here is Paul’s vacation; the offshoots are the delegated responsibilities:

Hi, all.

Reminder that I will be on vacation next week. In my absence:

Vera will run the weekly meeting;

Chuck will handle my emails;

and Dave will follow up on pending projects (X, Y and Q).

Thanks in advance. I’ll send you a postcard from the Isle of Wight.

Best, Paul

To elaborate on the above points, you can either send a separate email to each person with expanded information, or you can have those bulleted items at the top for a quick glance, followed by the augmented directives:

Vera—Please cover points A, B, C and J. George will arrive late.

Chuck—Watch for information from Amalgamated Yeast; their stock is rising, and we stand to make a lot of dough on it.

Dave—Project Q is a month overdue.

  • Call to action. If you want/need someone to do something, say so—and do it specifically:

Hey, everyone:

The new dental benefits become effective Sept. 1. Please review and fill out the attached form, and return it to HR by 4 p.m. on Aug. 15.

Simply put: No form, no benefits.


There it is: the change in coverage timeline, the employee’s obligation, and the deadline to do so—along with the clear consequences for not taking action.

 To learn more about how to write effective emails, please go to


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