Can chronology improve your email?

Bryan Garner’s HBR Guide to Better Business Writing has a great chapter on “Use chronology when giving a factual account.” Bryan Garner: HBR Guide to Better Business Writing

You and your readers benefit whenever you organize your emails using easy-to-follow logic. Chronology is one of the easiest organizational schemes for writers and readers.

Garner suggests “creating a chronology of relevant events before you write, then string the events together in your draft. But avoid the rote recitation of unnecessary dates.” That’s good advice.

Here is an example of such an email that does not go overboard with using dates. I think Garner would like that I use one out-of-chronological-sequence sentence at the beginning to get to the point quickly.

Re: Set next appointment?

Let’s set an appointment next month to discuss your year-end tax planning. Please click here to access my calendar.

At our last appointment we discussed your overall financial planning, including the benefits of year and tax planning. Selling some funds and buying others can help to reduce your taxes while keeping your portfolio appropriately invested across different kinds of Investments.

At our next appointment, we’ll go into the details of your year-end tax planning. We’ll also discuss other timely Issues.

I look forward to seeing you.

Could this chronological approach work for you? My sample may explain too much for some of your clients. I imagine that you can get by with one paragraph for some clients. However, the sample gives you an idea of how the chronological approach works.

 

Disclosure: If you click on the Amazon link in this post and then buy something, I will receive a small commission. I link only to books in which I find some value for my blog’s readers.

 

The image in the upper left is courtesy of OpenClipart-Vectors on Pixabay.

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