Good communication is key in the world of business, and it is certainly one of those vital skills that entrepreneurs need to master. Communication occurs every single day in many different forms, including phone calls, texts, video chats, and email. And while these are all popular methods of communication, the latter tends to reign as the primary method especially among business professionals and entrepreneurs. There’s no wonder why 25 percent of the average workday is spent reading and writing emails.

With the majority of our work taking place over email, it’s crucial to develop basic email etiquette skills. Here are a few tips you can follow to help you avoid sending that embarrassing email, and to master this essential method of communication.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT

Before you even sit down to your computer, think about the action or outcome you want people to take. What do you expect them to do once they receive the email? Start the email with your call to action first, so it gives them reason to keep reading through the rest of the details. If you don’t expect a response or action to be taken after reading your email, then don’t send it. You are just adding to the plethora of emails in your recipient’s inbox. Consider talking to them in person or simply shooting them a text instead.

KEEP IT SHORT AND TO THE POINT

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but length is everything when it comes to communication. Whether you are posting a status update on Facebook, creating a video advertisement or sending a text message, if you drag it on for too long people are going to lose interest. In today’s world, the average person has an 8-second attention span, so keep your communication short and to the point. When it comes to email, I would suggest limiting your message to 250 words maximum, although anything between 50-125 words tends to receive the highest response rate. If you aren’t able to fit your email within this word count, your reader will start losing interest. Consider talking to them face-to-face if you have more that needs to be shared.

MAKE THE SUBJECT LINE CLEAR AND CONCISE

Stop leaving your recipient wondering what on earth your email is about, and let them know in the subject line. “Hey” or “Quick question” gets old really fast. Instead let them know exactly what your email is going to be about, for example “Can’t make it to the meeting” or “Sales Numbers for March” are much more effective at prompting a response. When people know what your email is about, they will be more likely to respond to you in a quick manner, instead of putting off your email until the next day.

SKIP THE INDUSTRY JARGON

You might be interested to hear that the emails with the highest response rate, according to Boomerang, are those written at a 3rd grade reading level. To sum things up, if you make your emails too complicated to understand, then you won’t receive a response. On the other hand, emails written using too basic of words could have the same type of effect, depending on your audience. Keep in mind using industry jargon among customers will only cause confusion, even though your employees will know exactly what you are talking about. Make sure you consider your audience, and their understanding of the industry, each time you send an email as you certainly wouldn’t talk to an investor the same way you talk to a customer.

Email etiquette is one of the most important skills you can learn as an entrepreneur. Follow these basic rules and you’ll be writing great emails in no time!

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