Show your boss just how professional and smart you are—and encourage him or her to act on your email message—by following these tips:
- Time it just right. Breaking bad news first thing in the morning while the boss is battling traffic likely isn’t wise. Send messages when your boss is ready—or at least able—to process and act on them.
- Write an informative subject line. Include the topic of the email and any directives that emphasize that the content is time sensitive or urgent. Example: “Response requested by 12/14: Safety Meeting Date.”
- State your purpose in the first sentence. Your supervisor should immediately know what the email is about and how you need him or her to respond.
- Keep it short and direct. Briefly outline your points and attach additional details in a document if you need to provide further information.
- Don’t use email as a sounding board. If you need to complain or vent, talk to your boss in person. You never know if your boss will forward your gripes about a coworker, an employee or other department in an email to others in order to quickly rectify a situation, and your words could get back to the person with whom you are frustrated.
— Adapted from “7 Tips for Writing Killer Emails to Your Boss,” Herman Vantrappen, Fortune, www.fortune.com.