Do you have an important email to send? One that requires the receiver to take action.
Perhaps it’s an email to a customer regarding a delayed payment that needs to be cleared. Or maybe to one of your team members who has been slacking.
We may rely on sms, Whatsapp and FB for quick messages, but when we want to say something important (especially in business), we resort to email.
Here’s the problem with email.
You can only send out the message in ‘text’. It doesn’t have the richness of a face to face conversation. Or even the nuances of a telephone chat. Both avenues that allow the use of facial expressions, pauses and voice modulation to convey what you mean.
So a lot of the critical information gets lost in the bytes. If your email is sloppy, vague or confusing, you will make a poor impression and you’ll ultimately not get the results you need.
You must write emails that inspire your customers! Galvanise your team members and business associates to take action!
Now that doesn’t mean you must have Martin Luther King’s eloquence. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps. Infact, if you’re a GTD Practitioner, you already know them 🙂
So here’s how I use GTD principles to write top notch emails. Ready? Here we go…
Step 1: Capture all the things you would you like to say
Capture what has your attention with respect to what you’d like to say to the receiver. Note, that at this stage you’re NOT writing the email. It’s just a bullet point list of things on your mind that you’d like to convey. Consolidating your thoughts and capturing a bird’s eye view of the probable content lets you distance yourself from it and judge the logical flow, the effectiveness and the impact of your message.
Step 2: Ask, what’s the desired outcome?
Clarify the end goal. Sometimes we forget the big picture when writing an email. So it’s a good idea to take a step back and ask “What outcome do I want for myself & the receiver”.
Step 3: What’s the Next Action you would like the receiver to do?
This is a mistake I see many people make. They don’t specify in clear terms the Next Action they would like the receiver to take. Maybe they assume that the next action is obvious (most likely it’s not) or they think it’s rude. People get 100s of email messages everyday. They don’t have the time to think & process your message to and come up with what must be done. So make life easy for them and specify the task the receiver must complete to ensure progress. No one wants to fall behind. You will be thanked!
Step 4: Simply Write (Engage)
If you’re reading this blog post, then you probably have enough knowledge of the English language to write an email. See writing is the easy part. But not knowing what to write makes us feel stuck.Once you are clear about the desired outcome (for you & your reader) & the next actions to get there, writing becomes a piece of cake. Use your natural voice and it will guide you with the right words to use.
Here’s a trick I use to get this part right. I pretend as if the person is sitting in front of me. And I write just as I’m speaking to him. No formality, grandiose words. Just a conversation with a friend. I ask myself, the insanely simple question, “what do I really want to tell him/her?” And I type out the thoughts, words that come flowing in.
Bonus tip: How do you want the other person to feel?
We think we’re logical human beings, but our decisions are primarily governed by our emotions. So if you want someone to take action with your email, use words that will trigger the right emotions. With this push recipients will enter into a frame of mind where taking the action seems like the most natural thing to do.
I follow my own advice and use these steps to pen all my mails.
And I guarantee that if you stick to my guidelines, you will soon be sending out laser focused messages that cut to the chase and get the job done! Now what are you waiting for? Fire up that laptop and get cranking.
You Kick-Ass email writer! 🙂
Hi! I’m a Master Trainer in Getting Things Done (GTD) and a Holacracy Coach. I believe our work should be an expression of our most creative selves. I work with business owners and their teams to achieve stress-free productivity.