Internal communication tip: keep emails short and (...)

Internal communication tip: keep emails short and focused

Published in Tips - 04 September 2016

By Patricia Philbin, professional copywriter & trainer at EnglishBooster

Independent research by Atos Origin highlighted that the average employee spends 40% of their working week dealing with internal emails that add no value to the business (Source: Guardian).

So how and when should you send emails to your internal team?

In these situations, sending a short and focused email is a good idea:

  • when a written record of correspondence is really necessary.
  • to provide links that explain where people can find detailed online information, such as your intranet.
  • if you need to briefly confirm what was discussed in a phone call or meeting. Keep your summary short & smart!

Here is the example of a weak email message. Read it and spot why it may not keep the reader’s attention for very long.

RE: Meeting

Dear all,

As you know, the EMEA project will launch the end of July, so we need to finish the different activities that were discussed in our planning. Today we discussed the survey, Danielle is waiting for this information. She should receive all the input by the middle of July, please note this on your to-dos. We also need pricing estimates and Sandra said she is getting this input now. Shipping times are also needed, we need to know soon. Sandra, can you progress and let us know your success on this?

I think the SharePoint site is going to be very useful for the project. Fabien is working on this, it is taking some time, but we need to move ahead so can you give us an update by the end of this month?

We have built out a section of the intranet and you’ll notice there are quite a few files uploaded. Go have a look.

Martin, I’ve cc:ed you and if you have questions, please reply to this email.

Everyone, just send me an email if you have questions or want to add your comments. We must keep moving and I think it’s clear now what we have to do.

François Lions

Fatal flaws in that email: too long, too much detail, off-subject. Action items and deadlines not clearly defined. Refers to files on an intranet but does not provide the link. Who is Martin?

Here is a better example, with a stronger subject line, and short and focused messages.

RE: Recap of EMEA meeting June 18th

Hello Sandra and Fabien,

Thanks for your input this morning, here are the action items we defined for the EMEA project.

  • Survey to be completed and results to Danielle Perrin by July 15th
  • Sandra will provide pricing estimates and ship dates by June 25th
  • Fabien is finalizing the SharePoint site and will provide a progress report on July 1st or earlier if possible.

I am cc:ing Martin Leeson in the UK office so he is aware of the progress from our division. Martin is our new procurement head and will be monitoring the budget of the project.

Follow this link to see the most recent project files uploaded on our intranet.

I look forward to working with everyone, if you have any questions, please give me a call.

Best regards, François Lions

Should you wish to boost your digital communication skills, click here to learn more about upcoming EnglishBooster’s WORD WORD WOW interactive writing workshop.