The first thing to clarify in your head before you start writing is: What do I want this email to achieve? What is the purpose of it?

Most of us just “shoot and email” and write whatever we are thinking in that moment, without paying attention to how it will be perceived and what we want to happen. Sometimes just to “get it out of the way” or “put the ball in someone else’s court”.

An email can have a variety of purposes, but emails in our worklife usually fall within one (or several) of these three categories.

  1. Get a question answered

  2. Have a task performed

  3. Convey information

We will look closer at these three, tomorrow we start with “get the answer to a question”.

Exercise: Look back at the last three email you sent.

  • Is the purpose clear to you?

  • Does the purpose fall in any of these three categories?

  • Would you have written the differently, had you thought about the purpose first?