This tip moves us beyond answering the who, what, where, when, why and how questions. And beyond making sure your information is clear. It’s almost a combination of the two, but I think it deserves a tip of its own.
In this tip I’m referring to the importance of not assuming your audience knows what you are talking about. It’s about making things easy for them and saving them time.
The deadline for my request in yesterday’s email is now 15 September.
On the surface this looks fine—but how many emails did you get yesterday? Do you know exactly what they are referring to? It’s probably pretty easy to find out, but wouldn’t it be easier if the writer was more explicit?
The deadline for the quarterly sales report I asked you for yesterday has been brought forward from 30 September. I now need it by 15 September.
This second version is much clearer and you don’t have to go away to hunt up the reference. You know exactly what they’re talking about.
Now you don’t have to spend time checking back to find the original email.
Think about how precious people’s time is and avoid wasting it.