The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

How to Make a Boring, Procedural Email Engaging to Read

how to write a procedural email

Sometimes, emails are no fun — to write or to read.

When they’re full of bland instructions or corporate goings-on, it can be a challenge to keep the reader’s attention all the way to the end.

How can we turn an otherwise boring email into one that’s engaging and maybe — just maybe — a little fun to read.

The following template will help.

Subject line: New protocols for building exit and entry

Hi everyone,

I need to pass along new rules from HR on how to enter and exit the building on both the Washington Street side and the Claiborne Avenue side.

I know. This isn’t the most scintillating information, but please read all the way through because it’s important for how we access the building every day.

NOTE: Call out the fact that the email is boring. It will catch the reader’s attention and then encourage the person to keep going. Like a subtle call to action.

If you’re on the internal ops or finance teams, you should use the Claiborne entrance because that side can scan your badges. All other employees need to use the Washington Avenue entrance.

The change goes into effect one week from today — Monday, May 14.

Still with me way down here? Great.

If you have questions, let me know.


– Your first name

Deeper Insight

Effective business communication is all about managing expectations. Employees see the subject line about building exit and entry and think, “Ugh, this is gonna be a snoozer of an email.”

Anticipating the reaction, you include lines with a bit of personality to keep the message light and fresh. Sentences like “This isn’t the most scintillating information” and “Still with me way down here? Great.”

You know your own personality so use language and tone that’s most comfortable. But the trick is to catch readers off-guard, recognize the information isn’t all that fascinating and deliver it in a way people wouldn’t expect.

Even through a ho-hum business procedure email, there’s still a chance to be memorable.

Thoughts? Comment below!

Featured photo: Adreson Vita Sá (Flickr


comments powered by Disqus