Young woman worried at laptop in her home office while writing an email

There is a direct correlation between how long your emails are and how low you are on the org chart.

The length of your emails to executives is reinforcing your status, not improving it. This includes Slack messages and project management tool responses as well. 

Below are the reasons your emails are too long to executives.

Are You Writing Long Emails?

Those in execution roles usually write unnecessarily long emails to executives. Mostly, it stems from a completely natural tendency to be nervous when emailing executives, especially early in your career. Let’s explore the underlying reasons for your nerves.

You Don’t Have Much Face Time with Executives

In an execution role, you may be three, four, or more levels removed from the executive asking for information. This means you may only interact with them in team meetings or all-staffs.

With this limited face time it’s likely to feel pressure to HAVE to put your best foot forward. I know I felt this way. Usually, this results in more words and not fewer.

You Want to Explain the Reasoning Behind Decisions

Beyond the feeling of having to put your best foot forward, it’s likely you also want to explain the reasoning behind your decisions. I’ve seen designers explain how they ended up with the CTA in its current location after trying it in multiple places. I’ve seen writers explain the thought process of the flow of an email and how they landed on that over other options.

Most executives (and bosses for that matter) don’t care about your reasoning. They want to see the finished deliverable. They’ll ask questions about your process or decision-making as needed.

If an executive follows up with a suggestion that you already considered, THAT’S when you can provide additional information. Then the executive will either take your recommendation or ignore it. Either way, it is not a bad thing.

You Think More Information Is Better

Because you’re so close to the task, you have all the information about how it fits into other projects, previous drafts, and other dependencies. Many people in execution roles feel the need to add this information into their emails to executives.

However, that additional information is burying the most important element of your email, which is either a deliverable or recommendation. Focus on that and support it.

Write Shorter Emails

In my next article, I’ll share tips on how to write shorter emails to help you get promoted.


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