Effective Email Communication – Abbreviated*

Subject Line

Effective email communication hinges on the effective use of the subject line. Here’s an example of a good subject line:

ACTION by Fri 3/1: Reply with thoughts for Vision Magazine articles

(color coding to help with explanation below)

  1. Key word: Start with the key word of: ACTION or FYI
  2. Deadline: If an action is needed, give the date that the action is needed by.
  3. Action Needed: If action is needed, give an action verb for what the person needs to do. Address emails like you're writing a to-do list item for the recipient.
  4. Context: Give some more context for what the body of the email holds.
  5. If all that you needed to tell someone can be written in the subject line, then use “EOM” for end of message – example: “FYI: Birthday cupcakes in kitchen provided by Judy. EOM”

Other Tips

  • Who is on the email: Don’t CC people unless it’s really necessary that they have the information and it’s clear why they’re on the message; otherwise it’s one more email in their inbox.
  • Body of the email: Use the first two to three sentences of your email to define who needs to take what action by when.
    • If you are sending the email to a group of people, note in the email what group it is going to.
    • Indicate if the email can/should be shared and the people whom it should be shared with.
  • Replying to emails: Not every email needs a reply. When you do reply, make sure that your replies are actionable and relevant.


* For a more detailed document on effective email communication, please contact Alecia Gray (alecia.gray@mso.umt.edu)

Revised: March 6, 2019