Email - the word brings fear and remorse to most who hear it. And we are all guilty of sending email that is confusing, missing a subject (or attachment), or just plain wordy.
If you have ever written an executive summary or a status report, then you may have a good idea of what an email SHOULD look like - short, sweet, and to the point.
Everyone gets too much email, if they get any email at all. If we start writing email like executive summaries, we'll all get to the point faster.
Sometimes your email needs to be a tome, due to company expectations or deadlines or whatever. But if it doesn't, then ask these questions:
Is it a one-liner? Can you make your email a single sentence? It isn't as crazy as it sounds. First, anyone receiving an email that short will be relieved, perhaps even elated! Second, you know that your reader(s) will get the point. Third, if you can't write it in one sentence, perhaps email is not the right medium. Can your boss effectively communicate in one sentence? Most definitely.
Did you put your request at the top? You may need to include additional info. For clarity sake (and to catch those who don't read the whole email), you should put any action items, deliverables, and requests as the very first item. If they need the other information, it is there. But you don't want them to miss the whole reason for the email. (I've seen it happen!) If your boss has a request or something you need to accomplish, they put it right there in the open so you won't miss it.
Is this really an email? Let's face it, email is a default in the business world because it is there. You don't have to worry if someone is at their desk, or just not picking up because your name is on caller id with email. But it isn't always the right way to communicate. Is the conversation going to be long with a lot of back and forth? Is it bad news? No one wants to hear bad news in an email. Is your message going to be interpreted correctly without body language, vocal tone, and facial expression? No, emoji do not count! ;) If your boss is worth their salt, then they talk with you face-to-face, over the phone, via text, and might even post on your wall or tweet. Use a variety of communication methods.
There are lots of ways to communicate. Make use of some others when they are practical or more functional than email. Send less and shorter email messages that are clear and concise - like a boss!