Simple ways to be clearer in your emails

Not getting the response you wanted or expected from your emails? You may need to be clearer in your writing.

When writing an e-mail, it is very important to be as clear as possible. Not only do people get frustrated with confusing or ambigious writing, they may also misinterpret what you want from them.

The good news is, there is a very simple way to make your writing clearer. Just shorten the length of words, sentences and paragraphs.

Clearer Words

Firstly, avoid using too many long words. The English language is constructed in a way that the more often we use a particular word, the shorter it tends to be.
For example, words such as "the", "a", "in" and so on are very short, but words that are rarely used, like misappropriation, are very long.

Think about someone reading your e-mail that has English as a second language. They are far more likely to know the shorter, more common, words.

So, try to replace longer words with shorter equivalents. For example, change the word "approximately" to "about."

You should aim for about 10-20% the words you use to be over 8 letters in length.

Clearer Sentences

The length of sentences is also important. People tend to lose concentration the longer a sentence
goes on. If you were reading a sentence out loud, the period sign is where you take a breath. The longer the sentence, the less you breath. So break them up if they go past 20 words.

Clearer Paragraphs

Finally, keep paragraphs short - ideally containing 3 sentences per paragraph. This breaks up your
text into manageable chunks.

Summary

In summary, the targets should be as follows:

Words
No more than 15% of your words should be longer than 8 letters

Sentences
Aim for 10-20 words per sentences

Paragraphs
Aim for 2-4 sentences per paragraph