Good Email Subject Lines Help Prevent Overload

Overload is a problem for many email recipients. How can email senders help? One key way is to compose your subject line carefully.

Recipients need to quickly see what's awaiting them in their inbox. Good subject lines help recipients efficiently triage their inbox -- attending to urgent items first.

Writing good subject lines is an art. For example, here are some bad subject lines, followed by some suggested improvements:

Bad Good Good
The project [Which project? What about it?] Project X: can we delay phase 3 to next week? FYI project X: next phase starting as planned
Status report [Status is good, bad, or indifferent?] Status report: all items green Status report: RED flag; action required
Please help [With what? What kind of help?] Please review this draft Volunteer needed to speak to press about project X
Bulletins [What about them?] Here are some draft bulletins for review Please clarify bulletin workflow

... Richi Jennings

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