How To Write An Email: The Importance of Empty Space

Advice On Email Writing: Avoid Crowding Your Words And Ideas
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

Not long ago I received an email from a friend who just happens to be a brilliant thinker and writer.  But her email was just a huge block of words–a long stream of consciousness.

I wanted to read it, but it looked like work.   So I read my other emails and came back to it later.

Here’s an analogy. Every gardener knows that if you plant flowers and vegetables too close together, none of them will reach their full potential.

Same thing with emails.  If your emails are crowded with dense sentences and long paragraphs, you virtually insure that your message will not be read in its entirety, or not read first, or even misread.

Savvy print-ad creators know that lots of empty space invites the eye to concentrate on the message. If every part of the ad is filled with words , the viewer may be repelled, and say perhaps unconsciously, “Reading all that looks like hard work.”

Here’s another analogy.  Stanley Marcus, whom I interviewed for USA Today, told me he insisted that Neiman Marcus stores have wide, uncluttered aisles.  Marcus did not want his stores to look like a crowded, low-end bazaar.

Still another analogy.  Study the window displays of the most expensive jewelers on New York City’s Fifth Avenue.  They are never crowded.  It’s the low-end stores that jam  a little of everything in the show window.

So, if you want your emails to look high-end, use space to your advantage. Vary the lengths of your sentences. If you write two or three long sentences, follow them with a short one.

Even more important, use plenty of paragraphs.

Break up that long, dense message into several parts that are unified around one idea. When you move to another topic, create a new paragraph. And double-space between the paragraphs.

Also, don’t be afraid to use one-sentence paragraphs.

Today’s email-writing advice can be summarized this way.  Give your words and sentences breathing room.

Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-435-2225 or abe@mindspring.com Learn more about Gene Griessman at presidentlincoln.com and atlantaspeakersbureau.com

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Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
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