7 Ways to Write More Effective Email – Part 7 of 7

Why You Should Write an Email Backwards 

Do you sometimes wonder why you don’t get a response to your email? Or the response is slow? Or that it doesn’t actually answer the question you asked? One way to improve the results you get from the emails you send is to write the email backwards!

Let me explain . . .  

Your email software is set up so you write an email in the sequence To - Subject - Message. However, for best results try writing new messages in the following sequence. 

  1. Message First - Write your message first and then edit it (ie: spell-check, grammar-check, add bullet points etc). Be sure to use the ‘inverted pyramid’ format we discussed in the last blog post.
  2. Subject Line - Waiting until AFTER you write the content ensures that the Subject Line accurately summarises and reflects the meaning of your email message. Don’t you find that you have a much clearer idea of how to accurately and succinctly summarise your message in the subject line AFTER you written you message rather than BEFORE?
  3. Addressing your message as the final step – this improves your focus on sending the message only to those who really need to receive it. You’ll find that you have a clearer idea of who needs to get this message, who needs only to read it and who can be left out altogether AFTER you’ve written a message rather than BEFORE. When you do this as the last step, you’ll tend to omit people for whom there is no action or response required (or place them in the ‘cc’ line if they all they have to do is read it) reducing unnecessary email. 

Using these ideas will help you gain a reputation as a good communicator who

  • only sends email when it’s relevant to me
  •  makes it clear what you want me to do with your email
  • gives me a clear timeframe and
  • an accurate, concise subject line that helps me know what your message is about and makes it easy to find later after it’s been filed. 

As a result, I’ll tend to answer your emails first as you make it easy for me. And isn’t that what you want as a sender of email. Why not try one of these ideas on the next email you send today! 

All the best!

Steuart