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This is a book I am currently reading. Its recommended by David Ogilvy to read. Twice! These are some of the learnings I liked.

1. Make the subject heading clear and compelling

  • Its worth studying newspapers, particularly The Wall Street Journal, to understand what kinds of headlines convert scanners to readers.
  • Oh, and caution against marking emails URGENT.


2. Get to the point

  • Chip away at anything that isn’t your point. Anything over one screen risks not being read. If longer then send as an attachment.


3. The right tone

  • Sometimes its wise to respond, “Let me think about it overnight. I’ll get back to you in the morning”.
  • Compose yourself, then compose your message.
  • Nothing is private on a work email. ALWAYS remember that.
  • Never put anything personally negative in an email. EVER. Hard to resist I know, but let’s try this together.


4. Email etiquette

  • Dont broadcast supposedly interesting email material unless you know their interests. It’s the e-mail equivalent of junk mail.
  • If you want action, list only one name in the TO: field. With more than one name, it is not clear who has the responsibility to act and becomes likely that no one will take it on.
  • Reply All may be the most dangerous button on the screen. Count to ten before you unleash this plague on your victims.


5. Email tag – Avoid it.

  • Dont forget the context of your mail to avoid email tag. Be clear about the purpose of your mail. Ask yourself: What do you want the reader to do?


I loved this section in the book on email. Its hard though. All I want to do is explain myself on email, and then I remember to stop. With practice, it becomes second nature. Can’t wait to absorb the rest of this book.

Enjoy practising!