E-mail takes up a large portion of your day and might form the majority of your conversation with the outside world.
If you find yourself getting into long e-mail chains, following up e-mails with phone calls, or wonder why nobody respond to your e-mails, it is time to revamp your e-mail writing and get the most from your e-mails.
When is e-mail the proper medium?
There is no specific list, but think about the purpose of communicating before putting fingers to the keyboard. Are you simply asking a question or are you trying to have a conversation? If you are asking more than one or two pieces of information, pick up the phone.
Using e-mail as a de facto phone is actually less efficient. Think about it. If you send an e-mail and get an immediate response, then have another question and sit around waiting for a response, did you really just save any time? Doubtful.
The subject field exists for a reason
The subject field is like your heading a brief. Let the reader know why you e-mailed them. It might result in a faster response.
Keep it short and to make it clear what information you need
Again, if you want to have a conversation, pick up the phone. Avoid writing a two-paragraph introduction about the weather. Make it easy for your recipient to figure out why you e-mailed them and what you want from them. I would suggest putting your request either in the first or last line. Sticking it in the middle may result in a non-response.
E-mail can save time and make you more efficient if properly used. Be one of the “good” e-mailers, not one of the bad!