Why you might try composing it backwards

 

I’ve always had a gripe with email application developers concerning the way they want us to write emails. When you go to write an email, the tab order is all out of whack.

 

The default write order starts out with you selecting the recipient for your message, which makes enough sense, but then everything goes off the rails. Next, it wants you to type in the subject line for a message you haven’t written yet. Because you haven’t written the message, there is a bit of mental friction between us getting our thoughts together and

 

making a cogent subject line at that time, so we skip it or just leave it with whatever the mail client added (e.g., “re: re: re: re: re: That Thing”).

 

Next, the application wants you to write the body of your message. Rarely does the application even prompt you to add an attachment, which means about half the time you’ll forget to add an attachment. Because the default write order is all out of whack, so are the messages we often send using it. It makes a lot more sense to add attachments next and then write the body of the message before filling out the subject line and sending. I’ve got an alternative write order that makes a lot more sense.

 

1. ADD ATTACHMENTS

Don’t you hate getting an email making reference to a nonexistent attachment? Don’t you hate even worse when you send an email making reference to an attachment you forgot to attach?

 

2. COMPOSE THE MESSAGE BODY

The next thing you do is write the message. That’s the reason you started this whole process. I have some very specific ideas about how to write the message body with inline replies—and explain that later in this chapter—but for now get into the habit of writing the message body next. Also on the subject of the message body, try and keep it brief. Email is a problem for everyone and sending a 3,000-word screed when all you really want is to borrow the industrial plunger isn’t very nice.

 

3. ADD A SANE SIGNATURE

Email signatures should be simple and smaller than the body of the message. There is more on this later in this chapter.

 

4. WRITE THE SUBJECT LINE

Finally, after you’ve attached any necessary files and written everything else, make an intelligent subject line.

 

 

5. ENTER THE MESSAGE RECIPIENT AND COPIES

Waiting until last to add the recipient assures you’ll never suffer from premature email sendation.

 

6. PROOF AND SEND

Read the whole thing one last time and send it off into the world.

 

 

Please reload

Featured Posts

Not So-silent Planets

March 21, 2018

1/10
Please reload

Recent Posts

December 13, 2018

August 18, 2018

March 21, 2018

June 19, 2017

February 26, 2017

Please reload

Search By Tags
Please reload

  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic
Follow Us