By Grace Aldridge Foster
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of co-facilitating a series of workshops on effective email communications with Jill Dosik, President of Global Scientific Communications & Message Impact at GCI Health.
Jill kicked off each workshop session by sharing an anecdote about legendary designer Coco Chanel. Before leaving the house everyday, Coco would look in the mirror and remove one item—a piece of jewelry, a scarf, a hat.
Jill advised participants to do the same thing with each email they write: take a look at it and remove one item before pressing send.
We love Jill’s brilliant and practical suggestion for curating the “style” of your writing. It’s right in line with the advice we repeat most often to clients:
“One task per email.”
“The more text on a page, the less people will read.”
“Keep subject lines to 8 words or less.”
“Don’t include words you know your reader will skip.
Getting a message sent might seem more urgent than getting it right, but there’s always time to read through an email and remove one thing. Maybe it’s a word, a sentence, an exclamation mark, or an overly long pleasantry. There’s always something that can go, or at least something that can wait until the next message. And the more you practice this, the quicker and easier it becomes.
We all know that minimalism is “in” right now, thanks to Marie Kondo and others, but the truth is that it always has been. To many of the great tastemakers, it’s the epitome of style.
Why shouldn’t that be true of our writing, too?
Next time you’re about to hit send on an email, we challenge you to look for one thing you can leave out. Coco Chanel would approve.