Learning the art of lean emails
In Martial Arts, we learn that a strike should be short and to the point. It must use a minimum of energy for a maximum of effect. The principle is applicable to email writing, the shorter it is the more impact it generates.
A good email thread is pleasant to read because the ideas are clear in a very short amount of words.
A good way to reach that goal is to review your document before shooting it to your audience and ask yourself if all the words are needed.
No more to take away
Let’s see with an example how we can add conciseness to an email by removing unnecessary words.
Original email (57 words)
Thanks a lot for your email concerning the sales meeting. I will be able to meet you Monday 20 December at 9:30 AM since my daily morning meeting will be then finished. Could you send me a list of the different topics for this meeting ? can not wait to see you there.
Reviewed email – 25 unnecessary words removed
Thanks a lot for your email
concerning the sales meeting. I will be able to meet you Monday 20 December at 9:30 AM since my daily morning meeting will be then finished. Could you send me a list of the different topics for this meeting ? Can not wait to see you there.
Reviewing is key
Observe how a quick review process can remove unnecessary words and lead to a clearer call for action
The deadline to be respected for the submission of the offer is 30 September 2018
The deadline for submitting the offer is 30 September 2018
Offer deadline : 30 September 2018
- Be concise and to the point in your email.
- Avoid lengthy sentences.
- Always review your emails to remove unnecessary words
- Avoid redundancy
- Do not state the obvious to your reader.
Your XinFu workout this week:
1. The big fishes In your mailbox
- Select 6 long emails ( 3 emails received and 3 sent ).
- Print them.
- Remove unnecessary words
2. Review your email
- For a week, review all the emails you send and remove unneeded words out of them.
3. (Optional) Do the following exercise :
- Remove up to 35 words from the email below :
Thank you very much for your email related our current topic. Meeting you on Monday 26 June at 11 AM would be fine for me as I have so far a light schedule on that day. Can you please be so kind and send me the last sales report you mentioned in your last email ?
I am looking forward to meeting you again and to having a pleasant and fruitful discussion.
- Remove up to 20 words from the email below :
I am writing you all this email to let you know that the board of management has taken some decisions regarding our team organisation for the future. Starting from today, and until further notice, send all your purchasing requests to Alexandra without exception.
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