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Volume 3, Issue 20

Write More Effective Email Subjects

Managers and their teams can improve productivity by using subject-line prefixes and abbreviations in email, says a communications expert.

Thanh Pham, time management and personal productivity blogger at Asian Efficiency, recently shared the following prefixes and abbreviations to use in work email:

  • URGENT. Use for anything that should be read immediately. For example, "URGENT—Building maintenance tomorrow" or "URGENT—Final reminder to file quarterly team reports."
  • FYI. Use this abbreviation, meaning for your information, for general information. For example, "FYI—Donuts in the kitchen."
  • EOM. Use this abbreviation, meaning end of message, at the end of subject lines to indicate that the email body is empty. For example: "Elevator is broken today, please use stairs EOM."
  • NRN. Use this abbreviation, meaning no reply needed, at the end of subject lines to indicate that no response is needed. For example: "Running 15 minutes late. Start meeting without me NRN."

"Prefixes and abbreviations can save everyone a lot of time when used properly," Pham says "The best way to make this work is to educate everyone in your direct environment what these abbreviations mean. If you use them out of nowhere, the recipients will get confused. So make sure to train everyone what they mean."

This article is from the Nov. 11, 2013 issue.

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