using words wisely
Email writing course
We write so-ooo many emails. We cannot imagine ever going back to snail mail but we do tend to take emails for granted. Our inboxes are inundated and we often have to sift through poorly written, long-winded emails which lack clarity and fail to tell you what, if any, action is required. Email is one of the most efficient forms of communication but there is a skill in keeping them succinct, to the point and professional.
Participants on this email writing course will learn how to become master emailers. They will use practical exercises to learn how to write emails that are effective and deliver the message accurately and concisely.
- All staff members who frequently use email communication.
- Half-day course.
- Run at your offices or virtual classroom
Training goals are to:
- learn when to email and when to not email
- understand the power and the pitfalls of this digital medium
- plan and write with a clear purpose and aimed at the reader
- write with clarity
- compose emails that are concise and not too wordy
- write emotionally intelligent emails
- manage expectations and use appropriate tone
- know what to check before hitting ‘send’
Our facilitator will adapt the content and workshop style of this highly practical email writing course to the needs of the group.
Introduction and workshop overview
Participants will review the agenda and will discuss their email writing training objectives.
Choosing to email
We cannot imagine workplace communication without email. But it is also an overused medium. Participants learn to stop and consider alternatives to email writing before they start typing one.
Email pros and cons
The group will also discuss the far-reaching impact of email. For example, how it can be shared with a wider audience than the intended recipient. They will also think about security and confidentiality challenges and other issues that can arise from poorly judged emails.
Language changes and the tone of email has changed over the years. Text message writing and social media have influenced writing styles. Finding the right balance in modern day workplace email writing can be hard, so the group looks at how to adjust tone according to the person or people they are writing to.
The group will explore why it is difficult to convey emotions in emails by looking at the components of communication: words, tone of voice and body language. They will learn to write emotionally intelligent emails without the voice and body language to express the tone.
We all know how to write, right? The participants look at how they can write better, with a clear purpose, a clear structure and clear of clutter. They will review common punctuation and grammar mistakes. Participants will learn to write emails using the simple but powerful SPIT framework.
Paying special attention to writing concisely, participants will practise reducing wordiness and replace old fashioned phrases with modern wording.
Participants will also practise reviewing their email in light of their original aim ‘Is my message clear to the reader?’
Applying what has been discussed in this course is critical. Throughout this course on email writing participants will create personal action plans to put what they have learnt into action for writing powerful emails.
Why is EQ important to email writing?
Understanding how emotions impact on the writing and interpreting of emails is critical to transferring the right meaning. Emotional Intelligence is therefore an important skill in email writing and therefore has a central place in this email writing training course.
In verbal communication the meaning of the message is conveyed through:
- tone of voice
- body language.
Often people refer to Mehrabian’s research, which stated that 7% of the meaning is conveyed through the spoken word. Although the research’s findings have often been misinterpreted, it is certain that words are only a small portion of the message in verbal communication.
When writing an email, we don’t have the luxury of body language and intonation, so how do we support our words with the right emotions?
In recent years emoticons have slowly made their way from short messaging to email writing. They have even been introduced to professional email writing, despite sometimes passionate opposition. Because many people are still not fans of emoticons, you should only use them when you know your reader will be OK with them.
If emoticons are not the answer, what is? Well, we still have ways to use our tone of voice, even though we don’t have intonation. We can use our words in such a way that we build a connection with our reader and we soften strong messages. The answer lies in carefully thinking about what we want to achieve with our writing and always keeping the reader in mind.
Another critical element of emotional intelligence in email writing is being aware of our own emotions when writing emails. Most people now realise you shouldn’t write and send emails when you are emotional, such as being angry, sad or even when you are bursting at the seams with glee. Our emotions heavily influence how we communicate in our email writing. It is OK to write the email when you’re angry with the person receiving it – but you should definitely read it again when your anger has subsided before sending it. Our email writing training will build this emotional awareness and the discipline to use emotional intelligence in email writing.
"How to write a good email:
1. Write your email
2. Delete most of it
Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) - the capability of individuals to recognise and manage their emotions and those of others.
Being aware of the concept of EQ and then developing it is essential for employees, regardless of their role. High EQ is no longer an add-on but a ‘must-have.’
How to SPIT an email
Good email writing uses a structure. At trainEQ™ we use the SPIT method in our email writing training courses:
S – soften your tone. In most emails we want to build quick rapport with our reader. We can do this easily without wasting too much time. It starts with the salutation. In most email writing a simple ‘Hi Jane’ is the perfect start. Starting with ‘Dear Jane’ is generally too formal for the informal email medium. In the trainEQ™ email writing course we will go through the alternatives and review the pros and cons.
Another way of building rapport we will discuss in the email writing course is to use simple sentences such as ‘I hope you’re well’ or ‘How was your weekend?’. They may be clichés but they are positive ways to build a quick connection between email writer and recipient and can make it easier to achieve the purpose of the email.
P – point first. We don’t want to keep our reader in suspense. We need to make immediately clear what the purpose or ‘point’ is of our email. In this email writing training workshop participants will practise making immediately clear to the reader why they receive the email. The email reader will then understand the remainder of the email in context of its purpose.
I – information. Only after we have clarified the ‘point’ of our email, we go into detail and give information. Participants of our email writing training workshop will learn to use the upside down information pyramid, where they start with the bigger picture and give more detail as the email progresses (if the detail is necessary at all…).
T – take this action now. When we want people to do something, we have a better chance they do it when we explicitly ask them to take the action. Therefore, in this email writing training program we will get our participants to practise writing short action-oriented sentences to finish their emails. The ‘take this action now’ message can be as simple as ‘Can you please send me this information by Thursday 5pm?’.
We reckon that after our trainEQ™ email writing course, our participants will be expert ‘email SPITters’!