Before Breakfast - Second Cup: Write smarter emails

A listener shares a suggestion for keeping messages clear Learn more about your ad-choices at

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Welcome to before breakfast a production of iHeartRadio.

Good morning. This is Laura. Welcome to the before breakfast podcast. Today's tip comes from a listener who discovered how to write much more efficient emails.

Email is a great tool. I love hearing from before breakfast with nurse for instance email can be sent and received at whatever time works for the sender and recipient. This is very efficient. But email can also cause a lot of confusion people skin long messages and missed the last line asking for what the message was really about or people read along message trying to figure out what the sender one only to get to the end and realize that the center doesn't need anyting the email could have been processed at Alesso urgent Time in any case before breakfast listener Peter Road in with an email format that he uses it forces the writer to be more thoughtful gets to the nub of the problem quickly and allows the recipient to deal with it efficiently and effectively. He says here's how it goes first put in the subject line what you want the recipient to do with the email.

Example phrases include for approval for info for endorsement for Action update the previous email and so forth after you've written what the person should do with it. Then you write the subject Peter notes that this allows the recipient to sort wind to deal with it. So an office refurbishment project for instance might Inspire an email with the subject for approval new furniture purchase, then you start the email with what Peter calls a b l u f maybe we'll say that's a bluff that stands for bottom line up front one sentence only our furniture email might contain the bluff sticking your approval to purchase new office furniture in line with new office plan budget.

Is this is all the recipient needs Peter notes, then he or she can just reply approved. No need to Wade through anything else to get to the action required. Perhaps the person choosing Furniture has done a great job with the last round of furniture purchasing and it's not worth the managers time to wade into the details. All is good email has been read quickly and responded to quickly the situation needs more explanation than the next paragraph should be a what this is a one to two sentences expansion on the bluff remember? That's the bottom line up front.

After that, you can include ate. So what paragraph now this might not always be required Peter notes, but if the person receiving an email needs to know why they're being asked why does needs to be done by a certain point this paragraph can explain it, then the final paragraph contains the what next statement describes the next required action. Probably this was explained to need bottom line up front. But in case there's any confusion, you can spell it out again here and then you're done. I like Peter's approach and I think it's a good idea in general for emails. There is a place for long conversational notes, but when someone gets 200 emails or more a day that place is probably not his or her inbox explaining exactly what you need in the subject line and putting the bottom line up front increases the chances that the email and spires the action you desire

How do you make sure your emails are efficient and effective you can let me know by email at before breakfast podcast at In the meantime, this is Laura. Thanks for listening. And here's to making the most of our time.

Hey everybody. I'd love to hear from you. You can send me your tips your questions or anything else. Just connect with me on Twitter Facebook and Instagram at before breakfast pod. That's be the number for then breakfast pod. You can also shoot me an email at before breakfast podcast at that before breakfast is spelled out with all the letters. Thanks so much. I look forward to staying in touch.

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