Adapt your writing to reading on a screen

Adapt your writing to reading on a screen

by Amy Beth Miller, editor, Communication Briefings

Whether you are writing an email or an e-letter, adjust your style to make the most of the medium and convince recipients to read your message. Follow these guidelines:

  • Be brief. Some of your recipients probably check their email on a smartphone. Even if they are reading messages on a computer screen, your email must be concise and compelling to grab attention in an overflowing inbox. Make every word count, particularly in the subject line. Give recipients a reason to open your message and continue reading. For personal messages, aim to keep emails to only one computer screen, about 250 words. If they are reading on a smartphone, they may see only 50 words before they decide whether to scroll or delete.
  • Keep formatting simple. Fancy fonts and complex layouts can end up as garble in some email programs, so stick to basic designs. Remember that some recipients may block images from downloading automatically, so include an alt image tag to provide descriptive text in place of an image. At the top of your e-letter, offer a way for recipients to see your message on the Web. If that option isn’t immediately clear, they will hit “Delete” rather than hunt for it. Remember to use short paragraphs, bulleted lists and plenty of white space to make your message easy to read.
  • Take advantage of technology. For lengthy exchanges of information, write a brief summary in the body of your email and include details in an attachment. In emails and e-letters, include hyperlinks to lead readers to further information. Personalize messages when possible, instead of sending generic content. If you use email templates for common messages, take a moment to customize the content a bit. For mass mailings check out the options in your email program to customize fields such as names. Track mass emails you send to discover how many people are actually opening the messages and what links they click.


The Ultimate Communicator Training Camp isn’t just another communications seminar. This is a camp for people who aren’t satisfied with the usual formula of pep talks and grammar lessons.

Developed by communication leaders Carl Smith and Guy Harris, who also take turns presenting the training, The Ultimate Communicator Training Camp starts by focusing on what you can gain through better communication—better jobs, better relationships, better ways to resolve conflict, better opportunities all around. What are your specific goals?

Then, in just two days, you’ll go through a carefully designed process to gain techniques centered specifically on the goals you want to achieve through powerful communication. Smith and Harris take you on a journey, showing you how to be more confident and more persuasive.

Register today to join us in Los Angeles on Aug. 13-14!

Click here to receive the Communication Briefings E-Letter each month.

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