Email Tip – Organizing Letters and Emails

How do people read letters and emails? Remember today’s readers are skimmers, and they want key information quickly. They also try to quickly prioritize a message to determine how much time they need to spend on it.??Because letters have been around so long, people are familiar with their layout. Busy people tend to read the first paragraph and, if the information seems relevant, they will move to the last paragraph to see if they have to take any action. If they can see how the message applies to them, they will then read the middle paragraphs.

But this is a print document. An email is read differently. People read the first paragraph and then decide whether they need to read further or whether they can hit the delete key. Often times, they don’t even get to the last paragraph.

Therefore, the key to a good mail is to put the action you need taken in the first paragraph. From there, the details you use should be put in a descending order of importance – the same as newspaper article.

In my workshops, I tell participants that the last line of a good, professional letter – not one with a clichéd ending – is often the best line to open an email with.