How To Sharpen Your Email Skills

Alyssa West

Today's guest post is by Alyssa West, on the topic of improving your email skills.

Gone are the days when a business man called in his secretary to take dictation of a letter which was then typed up and posted by snail mail.

For several years now, it has been common practice to receive emails directly from the correspondent, without an intervening secretary to correct (or introduce!) mistakes.

While this could be bad news for secretaries, I hope it has freed their time for more interesting tasks in more fulfilling careers.

As an amusing aside, I recently needed to engage a solicitor and was completely frustrated to find that, while I emailed my questions to him, his replies came to me from his secretary, having obviously been dictated to her, even if they were simple two or three line answers! It wasn't amusing at the time. I found the delays in receiving replies to even the simplest of questions completely infuriating.

Hopefully my solicitor is the exception rather than the rule, because emailing can be such a fast and efficient way of communication. However, as with any business skill, it's important to sharpen up your email skills.

Here are some tips on improving email skills.

About The Author

Alyssa’s passion for learning about people led her to a career in marketing and social media, with an emphasis on content creation. She currently works for VCN Media where she focuses on their email verification software, XVerify.
Connect with Alyssa on LinkedIn.

Those interested in improving their business communication need to take a close look at how they are crafting an email. Many people think that because email is a fast and easy way to communicate with others, they don’t have to put much time and effort into what they write.

However, this is not the case. Time is precious for everyone in the business world. Unless an email is deemed worth someone’s time, there’s a good chance it will never make its intended impact.

How To Sharpen Your Email Skills

Strong email skills begin with determining whether an email needs to be sent at all.

Even though it might be more convenient for the sender to ask a question over email, sometimes a face-to-face conversation is more appropriate…… IF a conversation is likely to ensue. Bombarding busy people with emailed questions that could have just as easily been discussed in person is a surefire way to frustrate them.

However, if the conversation is about something where the conclusions and answers are important, such as in a business context, I recommend following up with an emailed summary, so that both (or all) parties can check they are in agreement.

When Email Is Better Than Conversation

  • With the possibilities of misunderstanding complex issues, email may be better than conversation, because at the end of the to-and-fro, you will have a detailed record should you need to go back over something.
  • Personally I prefer email because I find written communication an easier way to get things straight in my own mind.
  • Email is less disturbing of others' routines. If someone is busy working on a complex task, they probably don't want to be disturbed. Emails can be attended to at your own convenience.
  • Email is also useful for communication when the recipient works in different time zones (or even just different shifts).

Writing Better Emails

If email is the most appropriate platform for your message, be sure to keep the message succinct and satisfying.

  • Put the most important idea upfront, and avoid surrounding it with lots of unnecessary words.
  • Keep the idea simple, and make sure the email has a catchy subject line that will stand out among all the others your recipient will see.
  • No matter who your intended recipient is, make sure your business emails maintain a professional but friendly tone.
  • Treating emails like text messages (for instance “c u soon”) means you might not be taken seriously, but too much formality could cause the recipient to tune out what you’re saying.
  • Above all, take the time to review what you’ve written carefully to screen out any typos, factual mistakes or anything else that could reflect poorly on you.

email skills

Thanks to Alyssa for those helpful tips on improving email skills.

Do You Have Tips On Improving Email Skills?

Are you someone who prefers conversations to emails, or the other way round.

Have you any stories where mis-understood conversations have caused problems?

Please feel free to share your own experiences and thoughts in the comments below.

Joy Healey

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances. Exciting retirement business opportunities here.

Elise Ho - December 4, 2017

I love these tips. I am working on several ways to up my game.

    Joy Healey - December 9, 2017

    Glad you found my email tips helpful.

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

Jordan Ring - December 8, 2017

I think the suggestion to reread the email before you send it is key. It is SO simple, but I catch a type or mistake pretty much every time. I think taking your time to catch these things will tell people you are more professional and worth their time to respond to.

    Joy Healey - December 9, 2017

    You’re right Jordan.

    Re-reading – maybe even reading aloud – is so helpful. Sometimes it’s punctuation mistakes that only come to light when you “listen” to yourself.

    I try to apply it to my log posts as well.

    We all make the occasional mistake, but if it’s regular or really bad, I lose patience trying to figure out what the author means… so ZAP!

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

Anusha - December 12, 2017

Hi Joy,
Loved this tips you have written helps me alot to improve email writing skills.

Thanks for sharing

Hassaan Khan - December 21, 2017

Hi Alyssa,

I enjoyed reading your blog post. Even though I’m not good at email marketing, but I have noticed that short and to-the-point subject lines often work better than the wordy lines. It could be the other way around for other bloggers.

Whenever I sent the newsletter with a catchy and short subject line explaining the exact point of my MESSAGE, it always worked for me.

The reason I enjoyed reading your blog post is that I’m curious to learn more about email marketing, especially how to be genuine with the subscribers and yet grab their attention to open up the email.

Thanks, Joy, for publishing this guest post!

    Joy Healey - December 21, 2017

    Thanks Hassaan,

    You’re right, in marketing emails that’s the trick. And I have to confess I have yet to master it.

    There are some lists I had to unsubscribe from because they were just such compelling reads I ended up buying!

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

Donna Merrill - December 30, 2017

Hi Joy,

It’s great to read your post. I was busy with my projects, that’s the reason I was inactive a bit, specially reading & commenting was completely off.

Anyways, Email Marketing is important these days, so I appreciate your efforts for giving these tips. Great work.

~ Donna

    Joy Healey - January 2, 2018

    Hi Donna,

    Glad to see you back. Sometimes we all need a change of project and email marketing applies to many areas, so I’m glad you think the tips were helpful.

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

Naveen Sharma - March 6, 2018

Hi Joy and Alyssa,

This article giving the tips in the form of specific points is really very helpful. It is easy to remember the points and apply them. Email skills are surely something that needs polish, at least for me.

Emails are something we all use daily and that is the reason we need to do it properly to get the maximum advantage and avoid the misunderstandings. As you say, it is important to hold back clicking on the Send button and read the mail again for errors.

Thanks for sharing these valuable tips with us. Have a great day!


    Joy Healey - March 18, 2018

    Hi Naveen,

    Isn’t it always the case…. you think you can’t possibly proof-read an email any more, but as soon as you hit send, you see a problem. At least with a blog you can edit it, but obviously not so with an email. Unless your email links to your blog post – but I understand that can make them more easily perceived as spam 🙁

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

George Ionita - July 24, 2018

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