Write Better Email Master Course: Learn How To Save Time, Frustration, and Get the Results You Want

This master course combines three Write Better Email courses into one. You'll learn how to write better email that saves you time, frustration, and gets the results you want the first time. By applying the simple techniques you'll learn in this course, you'll free yourself--and your coworkers--from endless back-and-forth messages and save you up to an hour a day at work. 

Introduction

Welcome to 'Write Better Email'

 

Write Better Email Master Course:

Learn How To Save Time, Frustration, and

Get the Results You Want

Man typing on laptop

The Problem With Email

Why does email take up so much time? Click on the video below to find out.

What Can Be Done?

What can be done about email taking up so much time? Click on the video below to find out.

 

True Communication

What is 'true communication,' and why is it important in email? Click on the video below to reveal the answer.

Pop Quiz

'True' communication can be best described as:

  • Communication that occurs in one direction.
  • A two-way street in which the recipient responds to the sender as intended.
  • Not applicable to email.
  • Impossible in the workplace.

The Devil's in the Details

Learn how details can make or break your message in the video below.

Course Objectives

To find out the objectives for this course, play the video below.

Lesson 1: The Best Uses for Email

The Four Best Uses for Email

To learn the four best uses for email in an organization, click on the video below.

Use 1: To Make Sure Everyone Is Informed

Play the video below to learn about our first best use for email: making sure everyone in a group is informed.

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Example 1: Reminder Email

What do you notice about the simple reminder email below?

Example 2: Personnel Change Email

Take a moment to read the personnel change email below:

Example 3: Policy Change Email

Take a moment to read over the policy change email below.

Use 2: To Make Requests

Click on the video below to learn more about the second main use for email: making requests.

Example 4: Information Request Email

Take a moment to read the information request email below. It's from Ron, our company's financial manager, to Jessica, a sales rep.

Example 5: Action Request Email

Review the action request email below. It's from Jerry, our company's CEO, to Justin, his administrative assistant.

Use 3: To Answer Requests

Our third main use for email is to answer requests that require only a short and simple answer.

Click on 'Next' below to see an example of an email that answers a request.

Example 6: Answer Email

To refresh your memory, take a moment to re-read Ron's request email to Jessica:

Now take a minute to read below Jessica's email response to Ron.

Use 4: To Document

Our fourth main use for email is to document, such as a meeting or phone call, to ensure everyone involved has the same understanding of what transpired, and to have a reference point in case details become fuzzy later on.

Click on the video below to learn more about documentation email.

Example 7: Meeting Documentation Email

Click on the video below to go over an example of a meeting documentation email.

Can Email Overcome Time and Distance?

What if the recipient of your email is separated by time and distance?

Poor Uses of Email in the Workplace

Click on the video below to learn about poor uses of email in the workplace.

Lesson 1 Quiz: Question 1

The four best uses for email in an organization are:

  • To document, to thank coworkers, to inform, to make requests.
  • To answer questions, to document, to inform, to make requests.
  • To inform, to share photos, to make requests, to thank coworkers.
  • To annoy, to gossip, to bother, to distract.

Lesson 1 Quiz: Question 2

Read the statement below and decide whether it's true or false.

  • It’s usually a good idea to respond to an informational email with at least an acknowledgement that you’ve read it.

Lesson 1 Quiz: Question 3

Which of the statements below are best email practices? Click all that apply.

  • Including descriptions of numbers or figures.
  • Attaching at least one supporting document to every email.
  • Including as much private information as necessary to get your point across.
  • Making only simple requests that are a routine part of the recipient’s job.
  • Writing at least three full paragraphs in every email.
  • Adding a date to any relative time reference like ‘yesterday’ or ‘last month.’

Lesson 1 Quiz: Question 4

Read the statement below and decide if it is true or false.

  • Email should always be used with coworkers in different time zones because it’s the only way to ensure they will receive your message.

Lesson 1 Quiz: Question 5

Which statements below are examples of poor uses of email in the workplace? Check all that apply.

  • Inviting three coworkers over to your house for poker night.
  • Selling raffle tickets to your child’s fundraising event.
  • Inviting your whole team to your church’s weekly prayer meeting.
  • Speculating on the reason for a coworker’s recent abdominal surgery.
  • Providing a few lines of code from your company’s biggest money-making application to a coworker in a different department.

Lesson 2: Identify an Effective Email

Identify an Effective Email

Click on the video below to learn what makes for an effective email.

What Gets an Email Noticed?

Click on the video below to learn about three elements that are likely to get your email noticed.

What's Your Email Reputation?

Watch the video below to determine your email reputation.

What's the Email Category?

Click on the video below to learn more about email categories.

What Does the Subject Line Say?

Watch the video below to learn more about the importance of subject lines.

Attention-Getting Subject Line Examples

Click on the video below to go over some examples of attention-getting subject lines.

What Gets an Email Opened?

Watch the short video below to find out what gets an email opened.

The To, CC, and BCC Lines

Click on the video below to learn about the proper uses of addressee lines in email.

Addressee Line Examples

Watch the video below to see some examples of addressee lines.

What Gets an Email Read?

Watch the video below to learn what gets an email read.

Email That Get Read: Example 1

Click on the video below to see an example of an email that will get read.

Email That Gets Read Example 2

Take a look at the video below for another example of an email that will get read.

What Gets an Email Acted Upon?

Click on the video below to learn about the elements that get recipients to act on your email.

Effective Email: Example 1

Go to the video below and click on it to see a full example of an effective email.

Effective Email: Example 2

Click on the video below to go over a second example of an effective email.

Exercise: Identify Email Problems and How To Correct Them

Now let's see if you can apply what you've learned about effective email and identify problems in a business email. 

Click on the video below to begin an exercise that will give you practice identifying email problems and ways to correct them.

Exercise Instructions:

  1. Pause the video.
  2. Take a few minutes to read the informational email below. It's from Peter, one of our company's sales leads.
  3. In the text box below the email, record the problem areas you find. Number each one, starting from the top of the email.
  4. On the same line as each problem you identify, record what you would do differently.
  5. Give yourself at least 10 minutes to complete this exercise.
  6. When you're finished, restart the video to go over the exercise and see an example of how Peter should have written his email.
  7. Click 'Submit' below only when you've finished watching the video and you're ready to continue to the lesson quiz.

Lesson 2 Quiz: Question 1

What's the order of steps an effective email typically goes through? Select one answer below.

  • Noticed, opened, read, acted upon
  • Read, noticed, acted upon, opened
  • Noticed, read, opened, acted upon
  • Read, opened, acted upon, noticed

Lesson 2 Quiz: Question 2

Is the statement below true or false?

  • Sending a ’thank you’ by email to everyone who completes a task for you will improve your email reputation.

Lesson 2 Quiz: Question 3

The line should be used for those who need to take action on your email, and the  line should be used for those who don’t need to take action.

Lesson 2 Quiz: Question 4

In an effective email, the  goes in the first sentence of the body, and the goes in the second and following sentences.

Lesson 2 Quiz: Question 5

In the email below, click on the five areas that need correcting to make this an effective email. Here are some hints: two of the areas are whole sentences and one is a double word.

Lesson 3: Practice Writing an Effective Email

Subject Line Strategies

Watch the video below to learn about strategies for writing effective email subject lines.

Subject Line Writing Practice: Exercise 1

Click on the video below for a practice exercise writing a subject line.

Exercise Instructions:

  1. Pause the video.
  2. Write a subject line for an email from the finance manager of our example company to the company's other managers.
  3. The subject of the email is to change your previously scheduled budget meeting to 3 pm on Thursday.
  4. Use the blank lines below to write a subject line of 10 words or less.
  5. Restart the video to check your work.
  6. Click on 'Submit' only after you've watched the rest of the video and are ready to continue to the next exercise.

Subject Line Writing Practice: Exercise 2

Watch the video below to go through a second practice exercise on writing a subject line.

Exercise Instructions:

  1. Pause the video.
  2. Write a subject line for an email from our company's attorney to Jody, her part-time paralegal.
  3. The subject of the email is a request to research recent changes to the state's pharmaceutical regulations for the Colab Pharmaceuticals contract by COB (close of business) Tuesday.
  4. Use the blank lines below to write a subject line of 10 words or less.
  5. Restart the video to check your work.
  6. Click on 'Submit' only when you've watched the rest of the video and are ready to continue to the next exercise.

Subject Line Writing Practice: Scenario Exercise

Click on the below video, which introduces a scenario we'll use throughout the rest of this lesson. Then follow the instructions below to write an email subject line based on the scenario.

Exercise Instructions:

  1. Pause the video.
  2. Write the subject line for an email in which you want to set up an introductory meeting with Ron Gardner. 
  3. Use 10 words or less.
  4. Restart the video to see a solution to the exercise.
  5. Click on 'Submit' below only when you've watched the rest of the video and are ready to continue.

Strategies for Getting Your Email Opened

Play the video below to learn about strategies that will help get your email opened.

Understand Your Audience

Watch the video below to learn about strategies that will help you understand your audience--your email recipients.

Understand Your Audience Exercise

Play the video below for an exercise that will give you practice analyzing an email audience.

Exercise Instructions:

1. Open the Word document below. Feel free to save the Audience Analysis Worksheet to your computer.

2. Fill out the worksheet on Ron Gardner, the finance manager at Boundless Biochem. 

3. Fill it out on screen or print it off and fill it out by hand--whichever you prefer.

4. Complete as many lines as you can.

5. Give yourself about 5 minutes to complete the worksheet. When finished, click 'Next' to see a possible solution. 

Audience Analysis Worksheet - fillable form

Understand Your Audience Exercise Solution

Click on the video below to go over a filled-out Audience Analysis Worksheet on Ron Gardner.

Strategies That Get Email Read

Watch the video below to learn more about strategies that will get your email read.

Exercise: Write an Effective First Sentence

Play the video below to go through an exercise that gives you practice writing an effective first sentence. 

Exercise Instructions:

  1. After listening to the exercise introduction, pause the video.
  2. If you wish, use this subject line as a reference: Request a meeting with your Colab counterpart
  3. Start your email by writing a salutation in the space below.
  4. Then go to the next line and write one sentence to request an introductory meeting with Ron.
  5. Keep your sentence to 20 words or less.
  6. Restart the video to go over a possible solution to the exercise.
  7. Make any changes you'd like to make to your sentence and copy it and your salutation to your clipboard. Use CTRL-C in Windows and Command-C for Mac.
  8. Click 'Submit' below only when you've played the rest of the video and you're ready to continue to the next exercise.

Exercise: Write an Effective Second Sentence

Play the video below to go through a second exercise that gives you practice writing an effective second sentence--the 'why' of your email. 

Exercise Instructions:

  1. After listening to the exercise introduction, pause the video.
  2. Paste your salutation and first sentence into the text box below. Use CTRL-V on Windows or Command-V on Mac to do this.
  3. Write a second sentence that explains why you want to meet with Ron. State that you want to establish a good working relationship.
  4. Keep your sentence to 20 words or less.
  5. Restart the video to go over a possible solution to the exercise.
  6. Make any changes you'd like to make to your second sentence and copy the whole email to your clipboard. Use CTRL-C for Windows and Command-C for Mac.
  7. Click 'Submit' below only when you've watched the rest of the video and you're ready to continue.

Strategies for Email That Gets Acted Upon

Watch the email below for five strategies that will ensure your email recipient acts upon your message.

Exercise: Write a Sentence With an Explicit 'Ask'

Click on the video below to go through our last writing exercise. 

Exercise Instructions:

  1. After listening to the exercise introduction, pause the video.
  2. Paste the email you copied from the previous exercise into the space below. Use CTRL-V on Windows or Command-V on Mac to do this.
  3. Skip a line and write a third sentence that asks Ron to schedule an introductory meeting with you.
  4. Include your preferred date and time and a backup date a time for the meeting.
  5. Write a fourth sentence that asks Ron to confirm the date and time he selects or to provide an alternative.
  6. Try to keep each sentence to 20 words or less.
  7. End your email with a personal and professional closing. Sign with your first name.
  8. Take a few minutes to reread your entire email, checking for tone and correcting any errors. Give yourself about 10 minutes to complete this exercise.
  9. Restart the video to go over a possible solution to the exercise.
  10. Make any changes you'd like to make to your email, and, if you like, copy the email to your clipboard to save it as a future reference. Use CTRL-C for Windows or Command-C for Mac to do this.
  11. Click 'Submit' below only when you've watched the rest of the video you're ready to continue to the end of the course.


Final Quiz & Closing Thoughts

Final Quiz: Question 1

You can tell true communication has taken place with your email when:

  • You hit the 'send' button.
  • You hit the 'send' button and don't get an error message back.
  • You receive an automatic message saying your recipient has opened your email.
  • You get a reply from your recipient with the result you intended.

Final Quiz: Question 2

Drag and drop the definitions below to match the types of email they describe.

  • Informational email
    An email that keeps more than a few people informed about events in the organization.
  • Documentation email
    An email that records a decision or results of an important meeting or interaction for future reference.
  • Answer email
    An email that responds with information that a sender asks for.
  • Request email
    An email that asks the recipient to provide information or perform a specific task.

Final Quiz: Questions 3 & 4

Decide if the statements below are true or false.

  • It's a good idea to limit your email subject lines to 10 words or less whenever possible.
  • The CC line in an email header should be used for the primary recipients of an email.

Final Quiz: Question 5

It's a good idea to research your audience--your email recipients--when (check all that apply):

  • The recipients are new to you.
  • The audience is larger than usual for you.
  • Your email message has high stakes for you or your organization.
  • You communicate infrequently with the recipients.

Closing Thoughts

Click on the video below for a recap of key takeaways from this course.

References

Click on the video below for a few essential references on business email and business writing.

References