Business English vocabulary: How to get emails read

Read the text about how to gets emails read. Phrases about emails are highlighted and explained at the bottom. Also, don’t forget to do the quick quiz.

Email has revolutionised how we communicate but did you know that the vast majority of email is actually spam? Companies are consistently bombarded with junk emails which normally end up in spam folders but some still manage to turn up in staff inboxes. Employees are so used to these mails that they either delete everything they don’t recognise or just leave them unopened. The danger is that important messages often don’t get opened or just half-read. So, what can we do about this problem?

Here are 5 tried and trusted techniques:

1. Make it look important

Many email providers have an option for you to select the level of importance or priority. Set it to high and your message will have more chance of getting noticed but don’t overdo it or else it will lose its effect.

2. Write an effective subject

Few recipients would open a mail entitled “3/12 sales forecasts”. Whereas, one that reads “Important sales projections for March” would probably attract for staff. Another sure fire way is to include the recipient’s name or something significant to them.

3.  Keep it concise

Once the reader opens a mail they need to understand the main message quite quickly. A long complicated email will lose the reader’s attention. In comparison, a short, concise bullet point style takes less time to read and comprehend.

4. Split it up

Headings and sub-headings make a long complex mail more attractive and allows the receiver to skip to the relevant parts. Nobody wants to have to read en entire mail in order to find one piece of information.

5. Write in an appropriate style

A mail to your boss that starts with “Hi Steve” may not get the right response or even read at all. Knowing the appropriate register to use with staff and colleagues is vital in a company so many play it safe by just being more formal as it is generally less risky than doing the opposite.

[poll id=”11″]

Phrases about emails


Completely changed
Spam/Junk emails
Unwanted email from a sender you do not know
to end up in something/somewhere
The final destination
to turn up in something/somewhere
to appear in a place
to overdo it
to do too much
to lose its effect
to no longer do what it is supposed to do
A sure fire way
A guaranteed method
Recipient’s name
The name of the person it is sent to
to lose the reader’s attention
to make the reader no longer interested
to split it up
to divide it
to skip
to miss out
to play it safe
To choose the least risky option

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