The martial art of emailing

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)

Dear John, 

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.

Best Regards,

David

Reviewed email  – 25 unnecessary words removed

Dear John, 

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.

Best Regards,

David

Reviewing is key

Observe how a quick review process can remove unnecessary words and lead to a clearer call for action

Original wording

The deadline to be respected for the submission of the offer is 30 September 2018

Review 1

The deadline for submitting the offer is 30 September 2018

Review 2

Offer deadline : 30 September 2018

Remember

  • 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: