How do you email like a boss?
In order become the boss within you, you need to start acting like one. Behaving like one. Speaking like one. And in today’s world, emailing like one.
But, just as no one teaches us how to be a boss, no one teaches us how to email like one.
Today I’m walking you through the four steps to email like a boss.
Now in my world boss doesn’t literally mean you are ordering people around. I’m talking about being a boss of who you are and how people interact with you.
Every form of communication is a way for you to express your bossdom. It’s an opportunity to act in a way that reflects your professionalism, leadership, and clear thinking.
Clear writing is often forgotten in today’s world of texting and broken sentences. But it’s hard to overstate just how powerful high-quality writing can be in the context of demonstrating your bossdom.
Of course, high quality doesn’t mean long. Often it means the opposite.
Have you ever sent a long email that you toiled over for hours to get it “just right”, only to receive a one-sentence response where it was obvious, they didn’t even read the email?
If that’s not testament to keeping it short and simple, I don’t know what is.
With the right approach, writing great emails shouldn’t feel like a slog. It should feel like a quick jaunt in the park – refreshing and invigorating.
With that, let’s look at 4 steps you can take to email like a boss. And I think a couple of these may come as a surprise.
1. Less is Best
Too often, when we write emails, we feel a need to include everything and the kitchen sink.
In our minds, we’re thinking, “the more I put in here, the less likely I am to forget anything, and the clearer they’ll see what I’m saying”.
The problem is, when you put in too much info, the reader loses track of the point you are trying to make. And worse yet, if it’s too long, the reader might skim it (or not read it at all) and completely miss what you are trying to say.
Instead, remember the age-old phrase: K.I.S.S. Keep it simple silly.
What’s the best way to do that?
Before you write your email, take a second to think about what you are hoping to accomplish with it. This is your “mission statement”. Jot it down on a piece of paper or at the top of your email (you can delete it later).
Then, as you write your email, keep returning to that mission statement. Make sure that every sentence you write is explicitly helping you achieve that mission statement
Once you’ve finished writing, re-read your mission statement and ruthlessly delete anything from your email that isn’t directly related to it. Did you catch yourself going off on a tangent? Axe it. Were you making a separate unrelated point? Save it for a separate email.
Now don’t get me wrong – this isn’t easy. As Mark Twain famously said, “I was going to write you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time”.
But it will help ensure the person fully grasps what you are trying to say. And by keeping it shorter, it will ensure they actually read the email at all!
2. Avoid Repetition
This is related to the first point, which is that the shorter your email, the more likely it is to be read and understood. A big culprit in this regard is repetition.
We often feel like we need to repeat the most important parts of the email a few extra times just to make sure the point is conveyed. The more you say it, the more likely they are to understand, right?
The thing is, when you repeat yourself, you are actually more likely to confuse the reader. They’ll think, “Wait didn’t she just say that before? Is she trying to make a separate point here?” Or they might assume the rest of your email will be similarly repetitive, so they’ll just stop reading.
If you feel like your main point is getting lost or isn’t “popping out” enough, you’ve probably included too much extraneous, unnecessary information in your email. Revisit the first point and try to get rid of the fluff.
Once is always enough.
3. Be Explicit About Your Tone
One big drawback about email is that there isn’t any body language. When you talk to someone in person, you can read their face. When you talk to them on the phone, you can interpret the tone of their voice.
With writing, all you have to go on is the words. *(You would be advised not to use emojis in a professional email if you want to be taken seriously!)*
Because of this, people often misinterpret the tone of the email. An email could be read as rude, sarcastic or angry when it was meant to be sincere, neutral, or even a joke.
For this reason, if you are happy about something, make sure you explicitly write that. If you are frustrated about something, say so. If you are making a joke, you should probably include a disclaimer about that.
The bottom line is that you need to be super clear about how you want the tone of your email to be interpreted. Never leave it up to the reader to interpret. They will almost always interpret it in a way that you least expect.
4. Never Write an Angry Email
We just discussed how important it is to be explicit about your tone in an email. But one tone you never want to strike is angry.
To be clear, it’s totally fine to express frustration, concern, or confusion. But anger has no place in email. You will almost inevitably write something you will later regret.
Anger makes people do things they wouldn’t normally do. They stop making sense, they lose sight of the bigger picture, and they often make things worse.
And putting that irrational, anger-fueled behavior in writing is a recipe for disaster, because there will be a permanent record of what you just said. It’s embarrassing, it can get you in trouble, and it will almost never help solve the problem.
So if you’re ever feeling that sense of anger bubbling inside you when you’re writing, stop immediately, walk away from your computer or put your phone down, and take five minutes to breathe deep and decompress. Maybe work on something else for a while.
My rule of thumb is that if I’m super angry about something, I need to wait at least 12 hours before responding in writing. That gives me time to form a much more logical, coherent response that is focused on solving the problem rather than venting my anger.
Alright, so there we have it, four powerful tips for writing emails like a boss.
Let’s quickly recap:
- Write with a clear mission statement
- Never repeat yourself – that will just confuse the reader
- Be really clear about your tone of voice
- Never, ever write an email when you are angry
At this point you may be thinking, won’t thoughtful emails like this take longer? The answer is yes, at least while you are writing the email. But it actually saves you time in the long run.
Because when you write a clear, concise email, you ensure the reader totally understands what you are saying, which avoids a bunch of additional unnecessary follow-up emails that would have sapped way more of your time trying to clarify what you originally intended to say.
In other words, by investing a little extra time in your email writing, you will get much more value out of your communication and your friends and colleagues will start treating you like the boss you are.
Alright Explearners, add these strategies to your Explearning Communications toolkit, try them out and make them your own.
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I’ll see you in my next lesson. 😊 Happy Explearning 🐝