How to write more effective internal email subject lines

  • Put clues in your subject line to help recipients judge what to do with it: ACTION REQUESTED, HOMEWORK FIRST (before a meeting invite), DECISION REQUESTED, INPUT REQUESTED, FYI, NRN, FRIDAY GOODY BAG will all help people figure out whether they need to do anything right away.
  • Be very thoughtful about your subject line and your recipients. If someone’s on “CC,” they’re not expected to respond. With subject lines, make sure everyone understands the reason you’re emailing. “RE: RE: ABC Project” will make the recipients read the whole thing. “ACTION REQUESTED – Connect me with ABC’s site manager so we can arrange close-out” tells people right away what’s going on.
  • As much as possible, try to use consistent names for projects, companies, etc. in subject lines. Switching back and forth between “ABC” and “Automated Barbecue Corporation” could cause stray emails to get lost.

Two of my favorite articles on conquering email overload:

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