Merge's Blog

Get your email subject line right if you want to be taken seriously

EmailI’ve always said that, right or wrong, people judge you based on your writing skills. So today’s post focuses on one specific kind of business writing – yes, email! While there are many situations where email is not the best way to communicate, email can still be an efficient and effective way to convey your message, particularly if you need to get the word out to a group of people. But don’t make the one mistake that can significantly dilute the effect of your message. Don’t botch the email subject line!

If you don’t make your email subject line descriptive enough, not only are you jeopardizing the likelihood of getting the outcome you desire, but you’re also likely to run the risk of losing credibility in the eyes of your reader. Your subject line should always contain enough information to let your reader know what the email is about and whether this is something they need to address now or can defer to later. Today most people are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of email that they receive, and anything that you can do to make the process of sifting through their in-basket easier for them will completely elevate your communication skills in their eyes! An email title of “Our meeting” or “Latest news” simply is not good communication. A subject that says “Agenda for results meeting on May 7” or “Latest news about Ogilvie lawsuit” is much more specific and meaningful to the person receiving the email, and your descriptiveness is likely to endear you to them, thus increasing your estimation in their books.

In future blog posts, I’ll offer up some more ideas to not only make your email communication more powerful, but also ensure that you’re not jeopardizing your credibility in the workplace. In the meantime though, what have you seen in emails that you’ve received that make you seriously doubt the capabilities (and intelligence) of the person writing? Please add your comments below.

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