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I have been over zealous with political comment lately so have now accepted the offer to assemble and write for two blogs on the WatchingUK website. The "Good News" blog is for items where we have benefited from the Brexit referendum vote and the "Bad News" blog is where others have tried to damage our chances of leaving the EU.

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Monday, 30 May 2011

A useful lesson on how to write an email to a commercial business or a governmental department.

I like the word "governmental" and have given you a clue as to why!

People never read emails properly

Have you ever noticed how people never read e-mails? They used to be bad enough with letters, but now, with e-mails, it is almost impossible to get your message across.

The real problem comes when you want to ask the recipient more than one question. If you do, the recipient will pick the easiest question to answer and then hit the "send" button.
The problem is, how can we get them to answer all our questions?
I have developed a routine when writing e-mails. 
I have a paragraph at first stating what this e-mail is about. I then use CAPITAL letters as a caption to identify what the next section is about. 
Finally I sum up with what action I want to take. I give as an example…


Dear …

This e-mail is a request for information and I hope your sales department can answer my three questions below.
PREAMBLE
I hope to buy your super fur-lined widget over the next week or two. However, to anable me to come to a decision, I need answers to the following three questions
QUESTION ONE
Please could you tell me what sort of fur you use???
QUESTION TWO
Please could you tell me whether there is a reduction for a quantity purchase of a dozen???
QUESTION THREE
I would like to pay for these items with an American Express credit card, please could you tell me whether you accept these cards???
ACTION YOU SHOULD NOW  TAKE
Please could you answer these three questions and reply to me by e-mail. As soon as I have all the information I will consider placing my order.
Yours sincerely,


OK, I know you may think this is over the top, but it really works. I notice it works a little better if I add three question marks after each question. And, have you noticed I don't have a empty line between the heading and the paragraph?

For ordinary letters by e-mail, keep it to one sentence paragraphs as much as possible.
I try to use short paragraphs on this blog so as to make the material easy to read and digest.
If you lump all your questions together, your recipient will copy the practice of politicians and answer only the question they find the easiest.
I would like to thank PK for giving me the idea for this particular blog.

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