Shirley's Articles / Email Essentials

Are You Losing Hours Playing Email Ping-pong?

It’s another day at work and you are busy going through your inbox. You open yet another email that looks like a chaotic, muddled-up mess. It looks so bad, you let out a sigh. Then when you do bring yourself to read it, the message is confusing, long-winded, repetitive, wandering all over the place.

Sound familiar?

You know the type of message I’m talking about:

  • The message goes on and on… and on.
  • There’s very little white space on the screen.
  • It seems like a non-stop wall of words and more words.
  • The message jumps around from topic to topic.
  • The writer says the same things in different places.
  • You can’t figure out what reply the writer is wanting.

We collectively send almost 300 billion emails every day. Wouldn’t you think writers would make sure their messages are clear, concise, understandable, and with clear action stated?

But no, the issues persist. As a result, there’s a lot of ‘email ping-pong’ happening in inboxes all over the world. You send a reply querying a message, they reply answering your queries but they miss out a couple of points, you can’t figure it out so you reply again. Ping-pong… ding-dong!!

How many of us are losing time reading emails, trying to decipher messages, missing key information, and wasting time?

Sadly, good communication skills are often overlooked when it comes to writing emails. Many people who would never send out a corporate memo, letter or report without proper care are regularly sending out poorly-written emails.

Why is this?

Just like any other form of communication in business, an email message should be clear, concise, understandable, and, yes, grammatically correct.

So, what’s the best way to ensure you compose well-organised email messages? Follow my four-point plan! It’s so easy, and it works! Here’s a very short extract from my online program High Impact Business Writing, in which I talk about each of the four sections.

Stop thinking about yourself and what you want to say. Think about your reader, and what they need to hear! When you take some time to think about your message and how to structure it effectively, you might save yourself some time, avaoid repetition and misunderstanding, and you’ll help us all to cut down on email ping-pong!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this important topic. I’ve put this up as an article on LinkedIn. Please join the discussion by leaving a comment. How can we stop this?

Here’s to less ping-pong and more effective emails!

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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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