Why my emails are so short

It's been brought up on a couple of occasions that my emails (heck, my online communication in general) are short. There's a reason for this:1 I've yet to decide whether it's a good one or not.

I've come to realise that in general, people don't read entire emails. Given a two line email or a two page email, I'm more than likely to read (and follow up on) the former.

We all have busy lives, and we all get tens -- if not hundreds -- of emails every day. All asking for those two minutes of your time that nobody has, so we tend to be choosey on which emails we read, and respond to. And -- being the selfish type -- I want that email to be mine.

So, I write in short paragraphs, short sentences, and in short prose. In hope that you're more likely to read what I have to say if I do. It probably means that I miss things out, and that things need further explaining. In which case, that's best done over a followup email, phonecall, or face to face meeting (Speak to me face to face, and there's a likelihood you won't be able to shut me up).

If that sounds rude, or missing details, I'm sorry. Let me buy you a coffee as an apology?

(Of course, I'm not smart enough to come up with this myself. I learnt this from Oren Klaff, who sent out an email newsletter about this).

  • 1. Well, two: I've struggled with RSI in the past, and it's not a nice condition to have. Ask me and I'll tell you what I think is wrong with keyboards