Better Business Writing: Preventing the Oops Email

Have you ever pushed the “send” button too soon? Or  reread an email later to think, “Gee, did I write that?”

In our hurry-up world, sending an unclear email is simple to do.  Below are three steps to writing more concise emails before blasting them into cyberspace. Granted, the following example is simple, but writing your email with a formula will produce clear communications.

a. Intent:  Write one sentence summarizing the intent of your email. For example, “I want to thank my customer for using our services and to request an email from him if  he needs further assistance. “

b. Details: Jot down details with the journalist’s  tools:  Who, What ,When, Where,  and How
Who: We (XYZ Company)
When: Jan. 12, 2012
What: installed the Elcom upgrade and provided a training class
Where: at the Atlas Corporation’s Main Street office

c. Actions: Describe requested action: Please email  if you require additional assistance.

Now, write a concise email with details and requested action.

Dear Dan :

Thank you for using (who) XYZ Corporation (where) at your Main Street location (when) on January 12 for (what) both your install of the Elcom equipment and the accompanying staff training class.

(Action)   If we can provide additional assistance, please contact me by email.


Beth Jones

Now that your email is written, save the draft, and move on to another task. You will more easily spot errors later.  Then, to review and revise:

a. Read the email aloud. Is the wording awkward?
b. Are there any errors in your details?
c. Run a spell check.

If everything looks good,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

− 6 = three

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>