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Writing sensible email messages

| July 9, 2008

by Jim Bruce

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a number of pieces about how email is disruptive, how some companies are suggesting ways to that staff might step away from the constant flow of interruptions, how IM, blogs, and wikis can be effective in reducing your email load, etc.  So, there seems to be even more concern about how our “always on” culture may be having negative impacts on our work as well as the other facets of our life.

This Tuesday reading “Writing sensible email messages” comes from the blog of Merlin Mann — founding editor of  Though posted in September 2005, it still has a number of valuable suggestions that we consider before our fingers touch the keyboard:

1.  Why am I writing this?

2.  What result do I want from the reader?

3.  Don’t bury what you want;  be explicit.

4.  Write a great ”Subject:“ that hits the high points or summarizes the thrust of the message.

5.  Be brief.  Ideally one screen.

Another piece you might want to take a look at if the subject is of interest is:

“May We Have Your Attention, Please”,  June 23, 2008 BusinessWeek

There are also two recent New York Times pieces that I found interesting.  Access requires a login ID which, if you don’t have one, necessitates a free registration:

“Keep it Short, Make it Instant”

“I Freed Myself From Email’s Grip”


 Have a great week.  .  .  .  .     jim