Real Words That Work - How not to drive email readers crazy  

By Patricia Davies, President, Patricia Davies Communications  
Following up on last month’s hint to always proofread emails, this column addresses more ways to make sure your emails don’t drive readers crazy. Ask yourself the following questions before you press send.
  1. Does the subject line clearly reflect the contents or it is left over from a thread started two weeks ago?
  2. Have I put my requests or questions near the beginning or buried them at the end?
  3. Have I written an encyclopedia or stuck to one topic?
  4. Have I quickly written in anger or waited until I am calmer?
You’ll find more ways to ease the email burden in Send by David Shipley and Will Schwalbe. It’s an entertaining and educational book with the subtitle “Why we email so badly and what we can do about it.” Consider this resource my Valentine’s Day gift to you (and your co-workers) instead of chocolate. 
Punctuation Tip
In response to reader requests, this column will occasionally include hints on punctuation. 
An exclamation point (!) adds emphasis at the end of a sentence. What a meeting! However, people are using this handy way to add emotion so frequently that it is in danger of losing its power. Think twice before tacking it on to every statement, especially in email.
Patricia Davies is an award-winning writer and editor, an Endorsed Education Provider™ (EEP) with IIBA®, and a regular panelist on the IIBA “Being a BA: Effective Communication” Webinar (first Tuesday of every month). Do you have a writing question? Please email and we’ll try to address it in a future column or Webinar.