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Ten Tips for Writing Effective E-mail Messages

  1. Plan the message before you write it. Before writing, ask yourself, “Why am I writing this – what do I want my reader to know and/or do?” When you have the answer, state it at the beginning of your message – this is your main point. 

  1. Organize the information in your message to support the main point. Delete any unnecessary information. Use short paragraphs and bullet points for lists – these make the message easier to read on a screen. 
  2. Identify the right recipients. Don’t send the message to people who don’t need the information. 
  3. Check the content of the message. Make sure there is nothing confidential, personal, inappropriate, or offensive. 
  4. Check the tone of the message. Make sure it doesn’t sound angry, rude, or abrupt. 
  5. Choose the appropriate salutation and closing. Depending on the audience, salutations and closings can be formal, informal, or casual. 
  6. Proofread the message. Fix any grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. 
  7. Craft a compelling subject line that will tell the reader exactly what the message is about and allow the reader to file and find the message easily later on. 
  8. Make sure attachments are attached. It’s usually best to include attachments as PDFs. 
  9. Include a signature with your contact information. Be sure to include your name, company name, and phone number.

© Copyright 2008 Write It Well

Natasha Terk,

President of Write It Well (, works with a team of skilled instructional designers and trainers to develop and deliver customized on-site and online training solutions about written communications.