The One Essential Email Trick Every Business Writer Should Know


If you use the Inverted Pyramid to structure all your business writing, including emails, you will get to the point. Another simple way to do this is by writing your emails backwards.

Why should you do this?

I receive many emails every day. I ignore those that are full of meaningless rambling words. I respond to those that are courteous and ask me a simple question. Note, I said question. Not questions.

When I receive an email I immediately think:

  1. Why are you sending this?
  2. What do you want from me?

If you don’t get this across to me in the first paragraph, I do not take your request seriously. I do not want your life history, or your company’s track record, before you get to the point. I will ask for more information if I am interested in what you have to say.

How can you fix this?

Most inexperienced or ineffective business writers start at the beginning and go on and on and on. So, fix this by making the last request in your usual lengthy emails the first line of your message instead. Then, add two or three simple sentences to support your request. If you do this, you are making it easier for me to respond.

I hope this tip helps.

Join us for The Plain Language Programme if you want to improve your writing skills.

by Amanda Patterson

This article has 1 comment

  1. Chris

    Good article.

    This is similar to how they used to teach newspaper journalism; always start with the important details and put extraneous items lower in the article.

    Thanks for the tip.

    Chris F.

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