Effective Emails – Part 2/5 – The Body

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Once we’ve got The Subject Line right, and our recipient or audience has opened our email, it’s now important that we

a) gain and hold their attention long enough to read the contents; and
b) make the message compelling enough to drive a kind of desired response or outcome.

Here are my 5 suggestions for writing an effective email body


1. Slow Down

While there’s a place for short, punchy and to the point emails which we highlight below, the truth is we are much more effective in our communication when we pull up for just a few minutes and consider things like:

  • What’s the point of my email?
  • What outcome am I hoping for?
  • What information do I need to give this person(s) to help them achieve their desired outcome? Or, what information do I think I need from this person(s) to help me achieve my desired outcome?
  • What’s the timing?
  • What are all the relevant facts or details they, and I, need to know?

2. Be Pleasant + Brief

This not only saves us time but respects our recipient’s time also. That said, business emailing is different from text messaging and personal emailing, it requires structured communication which is not only important, it’s imperative to business efficiency.

Our emails require a salutation and an opening paragraph (The Beginning), a purpose and reason for the email (The Middle), and a closing paragraph and sign-off (The Ending).

The Salutation – for the most part, it’s all pretty casual and informal these days, so Hi Bob or Hi Mary is usually enough for the Salutation. Punctuation is personal so, it’s up to you if you want to include a comma after the Salutation or not e.g. Hi Bob, and Hi Mary

The Opening Paragraph – don’t be too rushed to be pleasant. It takes just a few words to make the right impression and connection — remember that we are more inclined to do business with people we know, like and trust.

Especially in the early stages of communication, it’s important to get this right. Some examples include thanks for your online query received yesterday. Or, I hope your day is going well!?! Or, It was lovely to speak with you on Tuesday.  

In The Middle, the key is to keep our paragraphs to brief sentences, and not more than four to five lines each. We want to see more white spaces than big blocks of texts and if that’s not possible, it could be a sign we’re trying to cover off on too much. In this instance, a better option might be to provide an overview by email and invite the recipient to a follow-up phone call.

Sticking to one topic per email is ideal and sending others under separate Subject Lines is recommended. This makes them easy to track, respond to, and file.

When we want the recipient to take action on something it’s best to list or note these upfront, and provide any supporting information below. The idea here is we want to make it clear to one another what our preferred outcome is early.

The Closing Paragraph can be as brief as The Opening Paragraph, those few courtesy words like thanks for your time.; I look forward to chatting with you.; I look forward to hearing from you about the best time to take the next step.: Let me know if you need anything else from us.; Have a great Thursday!, Call anytime with any queries. etc.

The Sign-off — we’ve actually dedicated a whole Part of the series to this one, so stay tuned for our handy list of formal and informal sign-off remarks to shake things up a little from the regular Regards, and Thanks. We’ll also clearly outline what to include after that and how-to showcase your business professionally at the same time.

3. Highlight The Main Points

A LOT of people like to skim-read. Make important points or details stand-out, by using bold,  underline and Numbered or Bullet Point lists, ensuring pertinent information is not overlooked.

4. Proofread

Always find out how to turn the spell check as you go or spell check before sending options ON. Communication can be challenging at the best of times, let alone when we remove voice tones, facial expressions, body language, and eye contact from the equation.  So, ALWAYS READ, and re-read the email out loud if possible, until it flows without distraction from unclear content and errors of any kind.  

5. The ‘What if This Went Public’ Test

Always give an email the final gut-instinct check, especially if it was written in frustration, annoyance or anger, to make sure it’s still respectful and professional. If in doubt save it as a draft and come back to it later, or pick up the phone and have a chat to share any deep concerns.

To wrap up on these TIPS, whether we’re communicating with a team member, a supplier, or a client it pays to ask yourself how you’d feel if your email landed in the wrong inbox, or was made public — hey, it sure does happen! — and ultimately how it represents you and your businesses to the world.

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