Shirley's Articles / Email Essentials

5 Email Habits You Need To Stop Right Now

I read recently that 81% of readers felt that poorly written material wastes a lot of time. Yes, 81%!

It’s everyone’s responsibility to stop wasting the reader’s time. So here are five habits you need to stop right now. Why? Because they make you look lazy and unprofessional.

Habit #1. Stop Using Vague Subject Lines

If you expect your readers to open an email, give them some idea of what it’s about. Don’t keep your reader guessing by using vague subject lines, or worse still by changing the content but keeping the same subject line.

Habit #2. Stop Writing In One Long Paragraph

Nothing is more off-putting than opening an email to find it contains just one or two very long paragraphs. Readers will very likely hit ‘delete’. It’s your job to make your message look good. Leave a blank line between paragraphs, start a new paragraph every few lines, and use bullets and numbers where possible.

Habit #3. Stop Sending Vague Messages

It helps if you plan your message before you begin. Follow my four-point plan in every message: start with a nice introduction, give all the details in the central section, then state clearly what action is needed, and then wrap it up with a friendly close. Intro – Details – Action – Close.

Habit #4. Stop Hitting Reply All

When you receive an email with multiple people cc’d, you don’t always need to reply all. Sometimes it’s only the sender who needs a response. So don’t pollute other people’s mailboxes.

Habit #5. Stop Sending Sloppy Messages

If there are some misspelled words, long-winded sentences, old-fashioned jargon, long rambling paragraphs, and no clear action points, you can bet your email may end up in the bin. Let’s stop sending sloppy messages.

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Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at

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