According to a study carried out by Boomerang in 2016, there is a 51% higher chance of receiving a reply to your email if its word limit is between 75 and 100 words.

But what does this word limit allow as far as content and why would this self-imposed limit have such a significant impact?
We must first consider that element which is immediately obvious to anyone who has received or sent an email – the subject line. There are three relevant considerations in this case: how accurate it is, whether it provides enough information, and whether it can be successfully indexed. This last consideration refers to how easily the email can be retrieved by searching the archived folder using the title as a keyword. Thanks to the new technologies, this title (and not much else of the message) is also immediately viewed on any tablet, smartphone or smartwatch and a decision made to respond or not.

Also, among the significant elements that can be seen at a first glance of the body of the email is the paragraph structure. This need for paragraphs is caused by the fact that this a far more efficient ordering of ideas than a block of text. The chances of a message being interpreted as clear and explicit therefore increase when we see how the ideas are visually laid out on the page. For example, since the first paragraph is dedicated to presenting the problem/reason for which the email was sent, the second paragraph is dedicated to suggesting a next step to solve the problem or respond to the situation mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Thirdly, in order to further ensure the clarity of the message, we can add to the usual steps of checking the spelling, style and language used, one last step and that is checking the length of the text. This step would necessarily involve some rewording and/or reorganization of the text to maximize the chances of the email getting a response. Not only that but it is likely that this rewording might eliminate unnecessary details, too complicated language or even help identify when some details could be better sent in a separate email.

In conclusion, if we add a self-imposed word limit for our emails, we would, as the Boomerang findings suggest, have a better chance of receiving a response. And considering the number of emails received daily, it is likely that the brevity of such a message could be the key to success.

Article written by Miruna Pință – Senior English Language Trainer

Miruna Pință

Miruna is passionate about teaching and she believes that the best way to develop in this field is by putting theory into practice. Miruna has been teaching English for over 10 years, and throughout her career she has delivered many English language courses, especially for learners from multinational companies in Bucharest.

Miruna’s outstanding teaching competence has enabled her to strike a balance between the 4 language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. She can effortlessly adapt to various work environments, contributing her positive energy and her creativity to building rapport with all learners.

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