The numbers may vary from study to study, but the story is generally the same these days: a significant percentage of emails today are initially read via a mobile device. But when it comes to work-related emails, most of the importantemails we write, the ones with some substance on important topics, we tend to write from a desktop or laptop. So we tend to WRITE our important business emails on big computer screens, but those same important emails tend to be READ on a little handheld device.
Hmmm… major disconnect coming.
So that email that we write, that we need an answer to, or some response to, gets written on a machine with a really big screen.
And that same email, just as important as when we wrote it, gets read on a machine with a really small screen.
The point here is that the way we write important emails has not caught up with the way we prefer to consume them. We hear all the time from all of our client companies, how frustrating work-related email is. And one of the big frustrations sounds like this… “I take all this time to craft an important email with a bunch of important issues, and I get no response. (Or they only answer the first of several questions I asked.)” And then in a different conversation, we hear something like this… “I am on the move constantly and I cannot deal with all the super long emails I get. If it is longer than my screen, i rarely read it.”
Again… hmmmm. Sounds like a problem.
The bottom line is that we need to write emails in such a way that they are more likely to be consumed. Write your business emails thinking about the end user, and their mobile device. Am I making it easy for them to consume this? Is it too long? Are the important points up front? Do I give (quick) context?
We talk all the time about being audience-centric in the way you speak. So too with the way you write. Roughly half of the time, your email is getting read on the fly, on a tiny little device. Respect that reality. And respect your audience’s time. Because maybe you didn’t even need to send that email in the first place…
Have a great day.
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Due to COVID, my wife and I are now home office mates. I am pretty regularly asked to comment, edit or improve the emails she drafts targeting her very busy prospects. I echo your sentiments every time, especially regarding screen size. I just sent your excellent piece to her for still more reinforcement. “Kim, did you read Dean’s note on email effectiveness?” “No, I haven’t had time.” ……. Arghh…No dinner for you.
Love it, Ben. Thanks for the note, and hope you are well.