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Email Writing 101
Transcript of Email Writing 101
The 5 C's of Writing
Email Writing 101
If you want to be a better writer, there are four things you can do.
If the only writing you ever read is your own, you will have no standards to judge your writing against. The more you absorb through reading, the more those phrases and words become a part of your writing.
No matter how many grammar rules you know, it takes practice to write well. Your tenth email to an upset client will be easier to write than the first one, and believe it or not, the tenth report will be easier to write too.
Find personal reasons for wanting to write well, for wanting to communicate with others, and then get writing.
You need to know if the writing works. Look at feedback as an opportunity to find better solutions, not as an opportunity to correct errors.
What types of emails might you have to write in a one-month period? What different reasons did you write them for?
How many emails do you send & receive a week?
How many emails approximately in your inbox?
How many folders do you have for your inbox?
You must READ
Improve your Writing
You must WRITE
You should WANT to WRITE
You need a FEEDBACK system
"Practice Doesn't Make Perfect,
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect."
The Pweor of the hmuan mnid
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer what oredr the ltteers in a word are. The only iprmoetnt thing is that the first and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can still raed it wouthit a porbelm. This is bcuseae the human mind deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe.
Rewrite the following sentences so they are clearer to a reader
Rose Walters is only an assistant to Frank Smith.
Report any other defects or damage to the supervisor in the finished product.
Arriving early for my interview the human resources office was not open.
Karen’s job does not, because it causes great stress, seem worth keeping.
Driving cautiously, the dangerous intersection was approached.
Rose Walters is only Frank Smith's assistant.
Report to the supervisor any other defects or damage in the finished product.
The human resources office was not open when I arrived early for my interview.
Karen's job does not seem worth keeping because it causes great stress.
The dangerous intersection was approached while driving cautiously.
Rewrite these sentences to make them more readable.
Regardless of their seniority or union affiliation, all employees who hope to be promoted are expected to continue their education either by enrolling in the special courses to be offered by the department, which are scheduled to be given after working hours beginning next Wednesday, or by taking approved correspondence courses selected from a list which may be seen in the Human Resources office.
Regardless of their seniority or union affiliation, all employees who hope to be promoted are expected to continue their education. They can either:
A) enroll in special courses offered by the department
scheduled after working hours
beginning next Wednesday
B) take approved correspondence courses
selected from a list
can be seen in the HR office
This policy does not appear to be well understood by departmental management in the region even though this group has a prime responsibility for implementing the policy.
The departmental management in the region has a prime responsibility for implementing the policy. However, they do not seem to understand it well.
Tips for writing concise
The clown who was in the center ring was riding a tricycle.
The clown in the center ring was riding a tricycle.
The clown at the end of the line tried to sweep up the spotlight.
The last clown tried to sweep up the spotlight.
There is a prize in every box of cookies.
A prize is in every box of cookies.
There are two security guards at the gate.
Two security guards stand at the gate.
By the time she got home, Merdine was very tired.
By the time she got home, Merdine was exhausted.
She was also really hungry.
She was also starving.
5. Wherever possible, replace redundant expressions (that is, phrases that use more words than necessary to make a point) with precise words. Remember: needless words are those that add nothing (or nothing significant) to the meaning of our writing. They tend to bore the reader and distract from our ideas. So let’s cut them out!
by means of
green in color
in the event that
circle in shape
the reason is because
Eliminate unnecessary words in the following phrases
At this point in time Until such time
In the near future In view of the fact that
In the event that Most of the time
For the purpose of Remember the fact that
With regard to During the time that
I am of the opinion that In the same way
The early part of next week There is no doubt that
Your check in the amount of At the present time
It is quite probable that A large number of
Write the following sentences more concisely
In the event that payment is not made by January, your license will be suspended.
The invoice was in the amount of $50,000.
He ordered desks which are of the executive type.
There are four rules which should be observed.
The department budget can be observed to be decreasing each new year.
If the payment is not made by January, your license will be suspended.
The invoice was $50,000.
He ordered executive type desks.
Four rules should be observed.
The department budget is decreasing each year.
Tips on making your writing complete
Use the 5 W's and an H. Answer the questions:
Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?
Make a checklist of all the important points you want to cover, and then check them off when the email is done
Empathize with the reader. Have I told him/her everything he/she needs to know?
Give something extra when appropriate
Common areas of mistakes:
Courtesy is an important principle of good business writing.
Spell the person’s name correctly
Be thankful...when required
Apologize with a good nature...when required
Answer your own email promptly
Use an appropriate writing style & tone that fits the topic you are writing about
1) Be informal, not sloppy.
Your colleagues may use commonly accepted abbreviations in email, but when communicating with external customers, everyone should follow standard writing protocol. Your e-mail message reflects you and your company, so traditional spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules apply.
2) Keep messages brief and to the point.
Just because your writing is grammatically correct does not mean that it has to be long. Nothing is more frustrating than wading through an email message that is twice as long as necessary. Concentrate on one subject per message whenever possible.
3) Use sentence case.
USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE SHOUTING. Using all lowercase letters looks lazy. For emphasis, use asterisks or bold formatting to emphasize important words. Do not, however, use a lot of colors or graphics embedded in your message, because not everyone uses an e-mail program that can display them.
4) Use the blind copy and courtesy
Don't use BCC to keep others from seeing who you copied; it shows confidence when you directly CC anyone receiving a copy. Do use BCC, however, when sending to a large distribution list, so recipients won't have to see a huge list of names. Be cautious with your use of CC; overuse simply clutters inboxes. Copy only people who are directly involved.
5) Don't use e-mail as an excuse to avoid
Don't forget the value of face-to-face or even voice-to-voice communication. Email communication isn't appropriate when sending confusing or emotional messages. Think of the times you've heard someone in the office indignantly say, "Well, I sent you an email." If you have a problem with someone, speak with that person directly. Don't use e-mail to avoid an uncomfortable situation or to cover up a mistake.
6) Remember that email isn't private.
Email is considered company property and can be retrieved, examined, and used in a court of law. Unless you are using an encryption device (hardware or software), you should assume that email over the Internet is not secure. Never put in an email message anything that you wouldn't put on a postcard. Remember that e-mail can be forwarded, so unintended audiences may see what you've written. You might also inadvertently send something to the wrong party, so always keep the content professional to avoid embarrassment.
7) Be sparing with group email.
Send group email only when it's useful to every recipient. Use the "reply all" button only when compiling results requiring collective input and only if you have something to add. Recipients get quite annoyed to open an email that says only "Me too!"
8) Use the subject field to indicate
content and purpose.
Don't just say, "Hi!" or "From Laura." Agree on acronyms to use that quickly identify actions. For example, your team could use <AR> to mean "Action Required" or <NBR> for Not Business Related. It's also a good practice to include the word "Long" in the subject field, if necessary, so that the recipient knows that the message will take time to read.
9) Remember that your tone can't be
heard in email.
Have you ever attempted sarcasm in an e-mail, and the recipient took it the wrong way? Email communication can't convey the nuances of verbal communication. In an attempt to infer tone of voice, some people use emoticons, but use them sparingly so that you don't appear unprofessional. Also, don't assume that using a smiley will diffuse a difficult message.
10) Summarize long discussions.
Scrolling through pages of replies to understand a discussion is annoying. Instead of continuing to forward a message string, take a minute to summarize it for your reader. You could even highlight or quote the relevant passage, then include your response. Some words of caution:
If you are forwarding or reposting a message you've received, do not change the wording.
If you want to repost to a group a message that you received individually, ask the author for permission first.
The bandage was wound around the wound.
The farm was used to produce produce.
The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
We must polish the Polish furniture.
He could lead if he would get the lead out.
The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.
When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object, nor could I be objective about the objective.
The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
English is Crazy
Steps for Writing a Business Email
There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when the does are present.
A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.
Screwy pronunciations can mess up your mind! For example:
If you have a rough cough, climbing can be tough when going through the bough on a tree!
1. Draft your Email
2. Make it concise (delete redundancies)
3. Proofread for common mistakes
4. Use bullets & lists when possible
5. Fill in the Subject line
General Subject: Specific Subject
Early next week
To choose the best article, ask yourself these questions:
“What do I mean? Do I mean all of them everywhere, one of many, or this one exactly?”
“What kind of noun is it? Is it countable or not? Is it singular or plural? Does it have any special rules?”
1: Every time a noun is mentioned, the writer is referring to:
All of them everywhere,
One of many, or
This one exactly
2: Every kind of reference has a choice of articles:
All of them everywhere…(Ø, a/an, the)
One of many……………..(Ø, a/an)
This one exactly…………(Ø, the)
3: The choice of article depends upon the noun and the context.
1. Know the Usage of Each Tense
There are three basic verb tenses: simple present, simple past, and simple future.
The verb form for simple present tense is simply the verb’s basic form, such as ‘go,’ ‘eat,’ ‘walk,’ and ‘run.’ These indicate that the action is done in the present. The simple past tense indicates that the action was done in the past, while the simple future tense indicates that the action will be done in the future.
There are other tenses, such as the perfect tense, the progressive tense, and the perfect progressive tense. These can be quite complicated to cover now.
2. Be Mindful of Shifting Tenses
As a general rule, the verb tense you are using should be consistent throughout your sentence and your paragraph.
For example, the sentence “We had eaten
(past perfect tense)
dinner, and then we talked
(simple past tense)
” should be written as “We ate
(simple past tense)
dinner, and then we talked
(simple past tense)
3. Know the Verb’s Proper Form for Each Tense
Verbs change form when they are used in different tenses. You should familiarize yourself with the different verb forms for each tense.
For simple past tense, the general rule is to add ‘ed’ at the end of the verb, but this does not apply to all verbs.
For future tenses, the verb is accompanied by the words ‘will’ or ‘shall’.
1. Always start a sentence with a capital letter.
2. Use capital letters to start proper nouns and titles.
4. Use a period (full stop) to end declarative sentences
5. Use an exclamation point to end exclamatory sentences.
6. Use a comma to indicate a break or pause within a sentence.
Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, is the developer of the operating system known as Windows.
7. Use the comma when listing items in a series.
The fruit basket contained apples, bananas, and oranges.
8. Use a comma to separate an introductory phrase from the
rest of the sentence.
After the show, John and I went out to dinner.
9. Use the comma to separate two independent clauses.
Ryan went to the beach yesterday, but he forgot his sunscreen.
10. Use parentheses to clarify.
Steve Case (AOL's former CEO) resigned from the Time-Warner.
11. Use parentheses to denote an afterthought.
You will need a flashlight for the trip (don't forget the batteries).
1. Try to reduce long clauses to shorter phrases
2. Try to reduce phrases to single words
There is, There are, and There were
adds nothing to the meaning of
4. Don’t overwork
, and other modifiers
that add little or nothing to the meaning of a sentence.