Effective Email Communications

There are no award ceremonies dedicated to beautifully crafted emails. Email, as a communications medium, is difficult to communicate over effectively. Intentions and tone become quickly obfuscated and often times, our objective is to simply send an update, reply to a previous email, attach a requested form or send an a news article.

Jakob Nielsen is a usability expert who coined the term, “information foraging” as it relates to reading habits online. We scan and hunt for relevant pieces of information when reading on a screen. The majority of his writings deal with blog posts and content strategy, but it makes sense to apply some of these principles to writing emails. Crafting the perfect email should include:

  • Writing a one sentence opening.
  • Summarizing in approximately three bullet points, your attachment or message. Think about what it is that you want the recipient to know.
  • Write a brief conclusion.


The tone should be brief, to the point and matter-of-fact. It’s important not to editorialize or include humor of any kind.

You’ll find that recipients will appreciate your consideration of their time. Most people don’t read email, they scan the contents. It makes sense to write accordingly.

Matt Heintz

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