Can you navigate your inbox?

Jonathan Tan | June 23, 2016

Have you ever started your workday by opening your inbox and seeing 80 unread emails? How would you begin to go through them? How do you know which emails take priority and what you need to take action on?

I start most days asking myself these questions.

My role as project coordinator is to make sure things are ticking along smoothly — both within our office and with our clients. I spend a lot of time on emails — replying to queries, organising projects with clients, and allocating work. My job is much easier when I can rely on emails to quickly and correctly tell me what I need to do.

Use subject lines to your advantage

Informative subject lines make it quick and easy for people to understand what you’re emailing about and what needs to be done.

A simple way to make your emails more effective is to put the topic, action point, and timeframe in the subject line. Your reader will know straight away what you want them to do. For example, ‘Work website: can you send a list of recent visits to the homepage by Friday?’

Image, Mailboxes in ivy.

Mailboxes in ivy. Image by Ryan McFarland / CC-BY

Use the MADE structure to get your message across

Be upfront about why you’re emailing and what you want to achieve. Follow the MADE structure (Main message, Action needed, Detail, Extra info) when you write emails. Give your reader the main message and any action points first. Leave extra information to the end of your email.

If I send out a muddled email, my reader might not realise they need to take action, or they could take the wrong action. Muddled emails can be frustrating and a waste of valuable work time.

If you want to learn more about how to write a useful email that gets the response you need, come along to our next Email Essentials workshop.

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