How many of you read your email on a mobile device? It’s getting more common these days, and that’s led to a new form of email etiquette. Here are three quick tips to make your email more effective when being read on a mobile phone.
The Subject Line
People can be very vague with their subject lines, and it’s a missed opportunity. I like to summarise in a few words what the email is about and what I need. I find that can get me a quicker response.
I know it’s not the proper way to go through email, but when I have a full Inbox I often look for the quick wins – what can I respond to quickly that will enable me to get this email out of my Inbox? If you send me an email with subjects like:
- Acme budget attached – please confirm receipt.
- Acme proposal – meet at 2pm today to discuss?
- Acme filming – what day this week?
I’m probably going to respond to these emails first as I can likely respond on my phone in a sentence. This really works for those people like me who triage their email on their phone on the commute to work.
And remember, if the email is part of a long chain, often the original subject line is no longer relevant, so consider changing the subject line so that it’s not something meaningless like Re: Re: Re: Re: Proposal document
Keep it Brief
Knowing that people are likely to be reading emails on their phone, keep them brief and to the point. I received an email recently, and the first line was, “Please, make sure you read to the end”. I thought, “put the important stuff at the beginning then!
If you’re asking someone to do something, make the ask clear up front. Put it in the first sentence, don’t have a long email with the ask at the end, I might just assume you’re telling me a long story!
Also, if you’re emailing about multiple different things, think about sending them as separate emails. The recipient might not respond right away as they only have the answer to, say, two of the three things you’re asking, and they’ll wait until they have the answer to all three before responding. By sending three separate email you might get immediate responses to two, with the third following later.
Attachment often don’t show up well on mobile devices, particularly things like spreadsheets. The mobile phone software may not be fully compatible, so the fonts and layout are wrong. If you think your email is going to be read on a mobile device, think about sending a PDF instead. I often get send Word or Powerpoint documents and they’re just a mess on my iPhone. But a PDF, even if small, will at least look like the original document.
Also, attachments can often be very large, like a Powerpoint with an embedded video can be huge, and if the receiver doesn’t have a great mobile reception, they won’t be able view it at all. Do you need to send the whole document? Can you just save out one part of it to keep the file smaller? Can you just export one slide as a JPG? Is the attachment really necessary at all?
A little bit of forethought when sending email, can result in making the receiver’s life easier, and getting you a quick response. Win-win!
Managing Director, Sun and Moon Training
Photo copyright: Jozef Polc / 123RF Stock Photo