Posts tagged ‘Email’

Writing effective email subject lines

After seeing some particularly bad email subject lines lately, we thought it was about time for a blog about writing effective email subject lines. Here are a few tips:

  • Put the important words near the beginning of the subject line (e.g. Office party: Ideas for venue?). This is especially important if the subject line is long.
  • If the email is about an action that someone needs to do, indicate this action in the subject line (e.g. Status reports due Tuesday).
  • Don’t write half the sentence in the subject line, then continue the rest of the sentence in the email. Not only is it annoying, but it makes the subject of the email unclear for the reader.
  • Don’t write the subject line in all caps. All caps are harder to read.
  • If you have replied to an email several times and the subject no longer applies, write a new subject line to signal a change of focus.
  • If an email contains multiple topics, consider writing shorter emails with specific subject lines.

Do you have any more tips? Have you got any examples of really unclear subject lines?

Dilbert.com

April 26, 2010 at 10:34 pm 4 comments

I hear what you’re saying!

Let’s think outside the box for a minute: who, at this moment in time, wouldn’t like to see a paradigm shift?

Got a problem or two with the sentence above? So do I. And you and I are not alone. It seems that Kiwis are really fed up when it comes to management speak – read a refreshing discussion on the worst office jargon here. An article in the National Business Review also triggered a number of interesting comments on the same subject.

A recent survey by Opinium research in the UK found that after grumpy or moody colleagues (37%), slow computers (36%) and small talk/gossip (19), the use of office jargon is the fourth-biggest office annoyance (18%). The 1,836 people surveyed voted the most annoying phrases to be ‘thinking outside the box’ (21%), ‘let’s touch base’ (20%) and ‘blue sky thinking’ (19%). The readers’ comments on Yahoo!xtra NEWS are rather entertaining to read!

Do you have an opinion on the use of office jargon or a particularly good example to add? Leave a comment!

February 18, 2010 at 4:17 am 2 comments

And what do you do?

Are you a writer?

You know the situation when someone asks you, “And what do you do?”. Well, when I describe to them what we’re doing they are always interested and sometimes surprised. But think about it. Language underpins everything we do, and with text messages, the internet and social media everyone these days is a writer.

What are your writing needs?

Our recent morning tea information session, ‘Documents That Work’, was well attended by a lot of people who were either self-employed, or belonged to small or very large organisations. What they had in common was an interest in writing, and the need to write a variety of documents. We heard about emails marketing a service, proposals, work instructions, Government policies, etc.

Want to be a better writer?

Everyone left with a good idea of what Information Mapping is, how it could help them, and useful writing tips. We all have to tell people what we do, and often write down how to do it. If we do this with clarity, then our emails, proposals, business cases, instructions, websites and intranets work. If we have to answer questions from our readers, then we could have done it better!

February 10, 2010 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment


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