Emailing is an essential communication tool. Dealing with hundreds of emails per day is hard to imagine, but it’s a true story for Computer Science people and, I believe, for some other majors, too. Emails become much more important when we are doing a project. Project Managers (PMs), I believe, should be the ones who pay attention to writing good emails, as they need to make sure the team get their messages right in a very short time.
I have been either a team member or project manager in school projects before, and usually got tons of emails. I have got some sense about how important emails are in communicating with each other. Writing good emails are great, but we need to change some bad habits in writing them first.
One time I got a recap email for our PM, with subject “Meeting Summary”. I opened it. There was one sentence indicating that an meeting summary PDF was attached. I opened the PDF. There was only one line in it:
We discussed about the project structure.
Well. That was it. I closed the PDF.
I think it’s important for us to know sending emails (such as recap emails) is not just a routine, but needs to tell something to others. For this email, at least 6 aspects could be stated from my point of view:
- Subject & purpose of the email;
- Thanks to attendees;
- Rough description for meeting content;
- Plans for next step;
- Task distribution;
- Asking for reply.
And of course, we need to keep the email concise.
For more about writing emails as a PM, take a look at Making Things Happen (By Scott Berkun). Search for the chapter “How not to annoy people: process, email, and meetings“, it does help a lot for our writing. I recommend the good & bad email examples. Believe me, they do give us an idea about emailing.