For accounting professionals, it's often necessary to send a number of emails, particularly when it comes to payroll or financial policies. When the content becomes too complex and emails arrive too often, colleagues may stop paying attention. Learning to write shorter emails with less frequency can help you communicate effectively and elicit prompt responses.
Brevity is the most important thing you can do to cut down on your email. If a person has three free minutes, he may be inclined to skip past a long email and take action on a short message instead. Shorter emails are more likely to get a response on the first try, which reduces the need for follow-up messages and repeated requests.
They also reduce the risk of misinterpretation, which is crucial for sensitive financial topics. Whenever possible, eliminate unnecessary words from your emails, and get straight to the point. Use simple, clear language, particularly when you are explaining important fiscal policies, payroll changes or tax information. Writing shorter emails is more difficult than it sounds; it requires you to eliminate pleasantries and get over the fear of being blunt.
Make One Request
Accounting professionals often require information from employees and clients for paperwork, filing and tax purposes. Too many questions or requests in one message can overwhelm the recipient and sabotage productivity. Boost your chances of getting a response by making a single request per email. Be as specific as possible, leaving no room for confusion or error. This strategy leads to shorter emails and reduces wasted time for everyone involved. It also helps recipients who use their inbox as a to-do list; when the request is answered, the message can be filed.
Use Information Design Principles
Shorter emails are not always a possibility for accountants. When you can't cut down the text, keep in mind that recipients may have a hard time reading dense paragraphs about complex financial topics. Instead of writing emails in standard block form, use information design principles to make your messages easier to read. Break long messages up with subheadings. Avoid long lists, which are difficult to follow in sentence form. Use bullet points to break up the paragraph structure and highlight key points. These design elements make the email easier to scan, so readers can identify important sections in seconds, and with minimal effort.
Most importantly, place your key information at the top of the page. That way, if a recipient only reads the first paragraph or two, he will still absorb the crucial details.
Shorter emails benefit everyone involved. They take less time to write and less time to act on — a crucial consideration in a busy professional environment. Once you have established a system of brief, effective emailing, you can streamline the communication process in the company.
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