5 Ways to Email Like a Ninja
It’s quite likely that emailing is a huge part of your working life. And hallelujah to that. So the chances are you’ve become something of an email ninja, powering through dozens of emails and making the most of this technological gift. Emails speed things up, save wasteful paper trails, and mean we don’t have to to rely upon the postman, or even worse; actually talking to each other – perfect for introverts, the busy and anyone avoiding confrontation…
But every silver lining has a cloud lurking above it. And don’t we know it? The rage, the irritation, the relentless back-and-forth that emails regularly cause are the stuff of workplace legend. But a true email ninja doesn’t let this bother them, and they certainly don’t inflict email pain on others.
Want to know how to email like a Ninja? Here are 5 tips to get you started
1. The Email Ninja Understands the Reader.
There’s a time & a place for smiley faces and kisses, (in emails to your sister, your friends and contacts you’ve had forever, in case you were wondering), and if you don’t know the recipient then they play it safe.
Doing a bit of reader research is wise if your email is important (and why would you send an email that wasn’t important?). Take some time to understand if your recipient is a decision-maker or if they have to influence someone else. Make the reader’s job easy and let them know what you want them to do with bold and simple call to actions.
2. The Email Ninja is Always Well-Mannered.
Manners cost nothing. Emails are about building a relationship and getting a job done, so consider the social graces you’d use when building a face-to-face relationship, and apply them in your digital communications.
Directness can come across as being gruff and rude, and will do nothing to help your cause. Consider also that over-use of good manners can appear fawning and make you look like a walk-over, or even worse, insincere.
So remember your manners, but don’t overdo it – simple salutations, polite farewells and the regulation please and thank-yous should do the job.
3. The Email Ninja Embraces White Space.
White space has magical properties.
Honestly it does.
Add in some paragraphs and bullet points and see your writing come to life. A block of solid text causes snowblindness and slows your reader down. Careful punctuation, spacing and paragraphing will help you make your point, “manage” your reader, and get your point across.
4. The Email Ninja Doesn’t Abbreviate.
Thx, Pls, BR, comms; abbreviations may be standard within certain businesses but are often needless. It’s often a habit, but try to make the effort to use the full word or term – that way you can be certain your recipient will understand what you’re talking about. For instance – I use the term “CTA” to denote “Call to Action”. A quick Google reveals that “CTA” can also be used to refer to Chartered Tax Advisers, Celebrity Talent Academy, and the Chicago Transit Authority. How could I be certain that my email recipient would know which “CTA” I was referring to?
Don’t assume that others will understand your abbreviations. At the best you will make them feel as if you are on different wavelengths, at worst you could be working on something entirely different and not know it until far too late.
5. The Email Ninja Understands the Limitations of Email.
Emails are great, but aren’t fail-safe. Phone calls, video-conferences, actual face-to-face meetings … the personal touch will nearly always result in a better outcome. An email may seem like the faster/clearer/less controversial route, but who hasn’t been involved in a hugely confusing email chain that goes on and on? Pick up the phone, meet for a coffee, use the breadth of communication tools available to best effect. In business as in nature, it’s the ability to adapt that allows us to thrive.
Be an Email Ninja
The Email Ninja makes the most of the tools available and uses them to their best effect, but most importantly, they don’t rely upon a single medium. It’s often when using a new technique or unusual method that we reap the best results – so the Email Ninja will mix things up a bit and use more than just email.
Use your emails skilfully and at the right time and place. Then you’ll gain your place as an Email Ninja.
The Email Ninja is always willing to learn. What are your tips for emailing like a Ninja? Let me know by posting a comment.