Replying to emails always takes up more time in our workdays than we thought. We can spend immense amounts of time writing and sending emails, which always gets in the way of overall productivity. By simply learning the art of how to shorten your emails, you can open up your day to complete more important tasks.
Entrepreneur Andreea Ayers hired a business coach to help her with her company, Launch Grow Joy. She was wary of her hire at first, especially after seeing the postscript at the end of her emails: “To save your time and mine, I’m limiting all my responses to five sentences or less.”
“I thought to properly respond to my questions, she would need to write more than five sentences,” Ayers said. “We spent less time emailing and more time actually implementing the strategies we were discussing.”
There are a few easy and simple ways to reclaim your time by shortening your emails. First, make sure every email answers five questions. Author and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki says every email should include who you are, what you want, why you’re asking that person, why that person should do what you are asking, and what the next step is.
Never hit “Send” without reading over your email and remove any extra details that are not necessary. Kawasaki points out that people who feel a long-winded story is necessary most likely believe their request is a bit out there anyway. “Long emails are either unread, or if they are read, they are unanswered,” Kawasaki said.
Sticking to the five-sentence rule will force you to keep your emails short and concise, while also making you think concisely. The receiver of the email will be able to make a quick decision based on what he or she has read, which makes it much more likely that you’ll receive a reply.
The one exception to the five-sentence email rule, according to Kawasaki, is when writing to praise the email recipient. “When you really don’t want anything from the recipient and you simply want to heap praise and kindness upon her, then you can go on as long as you like!”
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