Help Me Understand Your Email

This is a little different from my usual posts, but I’m getting soooo many emails, and most of them are not accessible to readers who process better verbally, or for those of us who struggle with executive functioning.

My first career was as a special educator, and I worked primarily with students who were several grade levels behind. Here are some quick tips that I use to make my writing accessible for all readers. Consider using these in your emails and written communication for the next few weeks, because we’re all struggling.

Don’t write in block paragraphs.

Lots of the struggle is in the fact that text is overwhelming. If you’re paragraph is longer than three or four lines, I’m not able to comprehend it.

Use color coding or highlighting.

If something is important, change the color, highlight it or bold it. Draw my attention to it. Do not put it in plain text at the end of a seven sentence paragraph, thanks.

Include a summary section.

At the beginning of the email, include key information you need me to get. Putting this at the beginning reminds me of what information I’m trying to comprehend while reading. Deadlines should be included here.

Use questions as subtitles.

This is a similar trick as the one above — it draws my attention to what I’m looking for.

You can include filler or niceties, but make sure you’ve separated important information, so that we can all understand what you're asking.


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