People have a lot to read these days, especially with easily available online content. Blogs, social media, online forums, and chat provide people with easy ways to air their opinion and communicate efficiently. But with so much content, attention spans are steadily shrinking. People want to read something fast so they can move on to the next thing.
Due to this changing content landscape and shrinking attention spans, people react to emails very differently than they did years ago. Lengthy messages tend to get skimmed through, or even worse, ignored completely! Making your point fast is key to quick communications which often doesn’t happen when emailing.
Still, emails have a special place in our lives, especially at the workplace. So start making your emails count. Get to your point quickly, and cut out the fluff for faster, more efficient communications. Actually, adding a word limit for your emails might not be such a bad idea. Your content is important, so why add information to take away from the core message? Work on making your emails short and sweet, so that your core message is being conveyed in a crisp, and easy to understand, way.
If your email is verbose, you run the risk of not only annoying the folks who read your emails, but also diluting your message from its importance. You run the risk of frustrating your reader to a point where they eventually stop opening your emails and you know where they will end up.
Instead, make your emails brief, so that it’s easy to understand the information and act on it. Remember, your email recipients don’t have the time or inclination to appreciate your “story”. If you’re a writer, go write a novel, not an email!
A clear subject line with a to-the-point email is all it takes to grab and retain the reader’s attention. This becomes even more important as people consume emails on devices with smaller form factors like cell phones or tablets.
Thinking of emails as a series of tweets might force you to use fewer words to convey your message. I say put the brakes on lengthy emails and slap a word limit. What do you think?