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Guy Kawasaki & the art of the 5-sentence email

Ten Things to Learn This School Year

I'm intrigued by this bit of advice from Guy Kawasaki on the stuff you don't learn in school (but should):

How to write a five-sentence email...Whether UR young or old, the point is that the optimal length of an email message is five sentences. All you should do is explain who you are, what you want, why you should get it, and when you need it by.

While exaggerated for effect, this strikes me as sound advice. And, in the context of a discussion about education, I'm reminded of the "hamburger essays" we used to have to write in school. Yeah, sure, there aren't many times in life where you have to sit down and write an actual 5-paragraph essay, but they sure did encourage you to think about structure, rhetoric, and arc. As ever, that bit of constraint gives you the focus needed to improve the quality of your presentation.

Man, in retrospect, I've sent a lot of emails that could and should have been whittled down to five sentences (if that). Emailarrhea.

Keng's picture

I've been trying to institute...

I've been trying to institute even less. When my message is less that about 5 words or so, I put an '*' in the first position of the subject to let the reader know that there is no info in the message body and that the subject contains the entire message. For example:

*Your report is done *Call me ASAP *Get off the phone you freak! *Happy Hour....NOW!!!!

Doing a lot of work in automation and writing a blog on automation, not everything can be done automatically like I would like but it can sure be done more efficiently.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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