If you’re emailing multiple people at once, and you need different people to pay attention to different parts, you should tag each of them. Write “@name” for each person or team, and put their names in bold. Ideally, put all these requests in a list, so people can scan down the left for their name.
Coder Lazarus Lazaridis, in his list of five concrete techniques for writing better emails, demonstrates how to effectively tag recipients so everyone pays attention to the right thing. But there’s even more going on than he describes.
In several major mail apps, including Gmail, Outlook, and Windows Mail, you can turn these tags into links, which go to people’s email addresses. If you type an @ and start typing a name, the app will suggest people from your contacts, and add them to the To: form. (Apple’s Mail apps and Gmail’s mobile app don’t support this. Gmail does the same with a +, a relic of the now-dead Google+.)
Tagging people is helpful even if your mail app doesn’t do anything special to the tags. It helps people quickly find relevant information.
It also helps you write a clearer email, because you’re thinking about who needs to hear what. This stops things from falling between the cracks because everyone assumed a task was someone else’s responsibility.
All of Lazaridis’s email tips are top-shelf, including:
Use links for all outside information, instead of making people search
List absolute dates whenever you say “tomorrow,” “last Tuesday,” etc.
Use subheadings on long emails
They’re like the Ten Commandments. Read them and you’ll be as radiant as Moses coming down Mount Sinai.