Crafting snappy internal comms emails: if you want it to stick, make it quick

Comms expert Kristin Graham shares her tips for inbox messaging mastery.

Email writing tipsheet

Would you say your internal emails spark rich conversation—or are they more of an aggravation?

Email is often viewed as a perfunctory exercise of modern business communication. A necessary evil, even. But what if your emails could become a valuable organizational asset?

Kristin Graham, a communications maestro whose work with Amazon has garnered global praise, recently shared her email-writing expertise. To succeed in our current milieu of maximum distraction and over-stuffed inboxes, she says, it’s all about making content short and sweet. That starts with a snappy subject line:

Even before COVID-19 flipped everything upside-down, employees’ attention spans were quickly waning. Graham shared these jarring stats.

  • 111 words: Length of message where 49% of people will stop reading.
  • 40 seconds: Average attention span for digital tasks.
  • 12 hours: Amount of time per day employees are connected to technology for work.
  • 26%: Adults who wake up during the night and check their mobile device.
  • 74: How many times per day people check email.
  • 23 minutes, 15 seconds: Time it takes to restore your full focus after absorbing unrelated information.

Now that we’ve been holed up at home for almost a year, relying almost exclusively on screens for our workplace communication, the battle to grab employees’ attention is even more intense. To make your messaging stand out, Graham says to put your “bottom line on top.”

In other words, lead with the gist of your message. As you proceed, “Use bullets, subheads, and links to help your readers quickly track the key information and actions they need to take,” Graham suggests.

Perhaps above all: If you want your message to stick, make it quick. If you’re not sure what constitutes brevity these days, consider using Graham’s stat—“111 words is the length of message where 49% of people will stop reading”—as a benchmark.

For more expert insights on crafting winning business writing, sign up for an upcoming Ragan event or try Ragan Training today.

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