Email eats up roughly 23% of the average employee’s workday, according to one estimate.
Getting rid of the fluff in your emails may be tough in the short term, but your colleagues will probably thank you later, Kat Boogaard writes for Fast Company.
You may worry that writing shorter emails will make you sound curt, Boogaard writes. But she argues that your respondents are more likely to appreciate the time you’ve saved both of them by writing a shorter email.
Boogaard recommends four things you can cut from your emails to make them more readable:
1: Filler words
Boogaard suggests getting rid of filler words like “I think” and “just,” because they don’t serve a purpose other than softening your written language. A helpful tip is to look for commas and delete any qualifiers that come before them, she suggests.
There’s a fine line between necessary context and irrelevant detail. To make sure you’re including only the important facts, Boogaard recommends checking your email to see if you can replace one of your paragraphs with bullet points. The formatting change will “force you to be far more concise and direct with your writing,” she notes.
3: Information that’s available elsewhere
Boogaard argues that the wordier your email is, the more likely it is that you’ve included information that can be found elsewhere. She recommends referencing outside sources, such as documents, presentations, or websites, whenever possible.
People generally skim over polite email openers anyway, Boogaard notes, so don’t feel like excluding them will make you look rude. She suggests excluding anything beyond a simple “I hope you’re doing well!” (Boogaard, Fast Company, 10/17).