Revise An Email So People Will Actually Read It

Yesterday you shared your worst email gaffes, and regardless of the situation, they almost all share one commonality: They could have been prevented.

Harvard Business blogger David Silverman shares his rather intense feelings about the importance of revising and editing emails to perfection, arguing that “no email should be clicked-to-send without revision.” The post even goes so far as to offer a simple calculator for determining just how many revisions an important email requires based on the number of recipients:

1 to 5 recipients = 2 to 4 revisions
5 to 10 recipients = 8 to 12 revisions
Company-wide or to Executive Committee = 30 to 50 revisions

Those numbers may look extreme (okay, if you ever want to do anything other than send email all day, they kind of are), but the point remains: Revision is a very important part of email, and something that is all-too-often ignored. Apart from avoiding obvious errors, revisions will help make your email more succinct so people will actually read it.

To that end, Silverman offers a checklist for tackling your email revisions, including this simple but nevertheless true tip:

Delete redundancies. Say it once. That’s enough. If you’re repetitive, the reader will stop reading and start skimming. (Like you probably just did.)

Be sure to hit up the article for the full checklist. When you get back, let’s hear where you sit on the spectrum. Do you revise your emails before hitting Send? Tell us what you look for in a well-written email, and how much revision you think is necessary, in the comments.

How to Revise an Email So That People Will Read It [Harvard Business]

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