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Sunday, May 31st, 2009

4 Easy Steps For How to Craft an Effective Email

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If you’re like me, you craft email messages just about every day.

I’m amazed at how many poorly-written emails I see on a regular basis (and some I don’t see clearly because they’re confusing).

Here are some basic rules I try to use for every message: (I’m using the example of a hypothetical partnership with Google as the topic at hand):

1) Clear Subject Line

The purpose of the subject line is to be clear about the subject (duh) and to get the recipient to open it (if relevant to them).

Examples (using the hypothetical Google partnership topic):

“Google Partnership” (Good)

“Google Partnership Closed: Next Steps” (Better)

“Google Partnership: Your Input Needed” (Best)

2) The “Door Opener”

The opening sentence or two of the actual message should be crystal clear about what you the you want from the recipent(s).


“I would like your thoughts on section 5 of the attached contract for our Google Partnership.”

” We closed the Google partnership today — way to go, team!”

“I just got off the phone with Larry and Sergey about our deal; here are our next steps.”

3) The “Meat” of the Message

The next part of your message should include any important data or other information necessary for the recipient to be aware of.


“Attached is the language in Section 5. Are you comfortable with payment terms described in it?”

“Now that the Google partnership is closed, would you please set up the kick-off call with Sergey and Larry to get things going!?”

4) The Closer

You should close with what action you’d like the recipient to take and any timing if applicable.


“I’d appreciate your input by Friday as I have a Monday morning meeting with Google.”

“Thank you for your work on closing the Google Deal. Please put it in your calendar for July 15th to review its performance.”

“Please make sure to alert our Finance team to expect the Google wire transfer by Monday at 11am.”

If you follow these four steps for your email communication, you’ll speed things along and face fewer unpleasant surprises.

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