Designer Gives Useful Tips On How To Write E-mails Like A Boss

Published 5 years ago

Everyone who has ever worked in an office can tell you that writing an e-mail is much harder than simply talking to that person directly. Every phrase has a hidden meaning and choosing the right one can be a real hassle. Lucky for you, one designer prepared a handy chart that will help you step your game and write e-mails like a boss.

Dani Donovan, a designer and illustrator of ADHD webcomics, says she came up with the idea for the chart when she tried googling “What to write instead of ‘just checking in” and found no useful results. “I started a Twitter thread and it started to really gain traction, with tons of people saying that they were printing it out for reference to keep at their desks,” said the designer in an interview with Bored Panda. “Around the 6th or 7th time I saw that, I figured it’d be easier for me to make a quick sketch so the reference looked nice. The graphic designer in me couldn’t help it!”

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Designer Dani Donovan created a useful chart that will help you step up your e-mail game

Dani says that in her line of work, communicating by e-mail is unavoidable. “95% of my communication is done over e-mail. Whether it be to internal partners on our team or external clients, the way we sound and present ourselves has an enormous impact on how smoothly things go,” says the designer. “The longer you work in the corporate world, the more you start to pick up on the way people talk. As much as I might not enjoy it, I eventually had to learn how to play the game.”

“When I was freelancing full-time, I noticed a direct correlation to how much money I was able to charge, and how unapologetic and direct I was in emails,” says Dani. She noted that the more calm and confident you are, the more respect you get from your clients. “When I over-apologized and constantly contradicted myself with “If not, that’s okay!”… some viewed it as weakness, and didn’t hesitate to use it to their advantage,” says the designer.

The designer also encourages people to be more direct and straight to the point when communicating in e-mails. “I always had a tendency to say “Hi John! I’ve attached a PDF with the first draft of the poster. Let me know what you think and if you have any edits!”,” says Dani. “Over the last couple of months, I started cutting out the phrases “first draft” and “edits” and say something along the lines of “Hi John! Excited to show you the poster design! I’ve attached the PDF for you to check out. Do you like the call to action right-aligned at the bottom, or would you prefer it centered? Happy to discuss any other feedback you may have as well.” It’s actually kind of insane how fewer rounds of revisions I get now. Being specific in any kind of feedback you’re looking for goes a long way as well. In my experience, the designer/client relationship starts to feel more like a partnership between equals.”

Even though the designer prepared this useful chart, she says she’s still trying to improve her skills

Dani proofreads every e-mail before sending it and many times ends up rewriting things, like deleting the many “just”s she adds. “I have gradually started doing things less by habit, but the auto-pilot tendency to start emails with “Sorry” is rooted SO deep,” says the designer.

Image credits: danidonovan

“I’ve seen people online up in arms saying that some of these are super-aggressive or mean,” says Dani. “The circumstances around which of these might be beneficial is really dependent of the dynamics and relationship you have with the other person.” She says she doesn’t advocate being disrespectful, selfish, or unhelpful by any means. “There is simply a BIG difference between being nice/accommodating (which is wonderful!) and being afraid to ever say no out of fear– and I think it’s time we talked about it more,” added the designer.

Many people found Dani’s tips useful

Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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Dani Donovan, E-mail like a boss, e-mail tips, email, email communication tips, how to communicate in emails, work tips
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