7 guidelines for writing emails that people actually want to read.

Whenever you place your fingers on the keyboard, you have an opportunity to add to the love in the world or subtract from it.

You have an opportunity to lift someone’s spirits — or sink them.

You have a chance to get what you need while giving — or get what you need while taking.

It doesn’t matter if you’re writing a text message to a friend, popping off a note to a colleague or filling out a form on the Internet.

Eventually, your words will reach a living, breathing, feeling human being.

Eventually, your words will land and leave a mark.

So: when it comes to your next text, post, tweet or email …

The question is simple:

Do you want to be an Adder or a Subtractor?

I imagine that you want to be an Adder. Most people do.

It’s pretty simple to do.

Just treat people’s time like it is the most precious resource on earth.

These 7 guidelines might help:

1. Get right to the point.

“Life is short, so I’ll hop to the point. I’m writing today because…”

2. Include ONE big idea per email.

Just one invitation, request, question or call to action.

“The big thing I’d love you to know is…”
Or: “The one piece that I need from you right now is…”

3. Honor the three-sentence rule.

If you can’t express yourself in three sentences or less, maybe you ought to pick up the phone, record an audio note, or spend a little more time thinking about what you really want to say.

4. Use statements, not open-ended questions.

This: “I think ___________ is best. If you agree, write back to say YES and I’ll proceed…”

Not this: “So … what do YOU think?”

5. Be unexpectedly generous.

“Hey, I made this for you…”
“This might be helpful…”
“You mentioned that you needed __________, so I went ahead and did that…”

6. Be unexpectedly kind.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” –The Dalai Lama

7. Whenever possible, end with the most beautiful words on earth:

“No response needed.”

Or, similarly: “No action required. Just wanted to let you know.”

Brevity is sexy and kindness is even sexier.

Happy writing. Happy Adding.

That is all.