Email has become an essential tool for communication in both personal and professional settings. As the number of emails we receive and send continues to grow, it can be challenging to keep up with the volume and still maintain an efficient workflow. However, the Orientation-Information-Action (OIA) approach can help streamline the email process, save time, and make your messages more impactful.
The OIA approach is a simple but effective framework that helps you structure your emails for maximum clarity and effectiveness. The three components of the OIA approach are:
- Iinformation, and
Adopting the OIA strategy serves as a mental checklist that you can go through for writing a compelling email. With practice, writing comprehensive abd concise emails becomes routine. You can quickly tackle important emails, one section at a time, read your email over for revisions, and send! After sending, an OIA email reduces the need for the recipient to follow up with questions, saving both parties valuable time.
The first component of the OIA approach is orientation. This is where you provide context and set the tone for your email. In this section, you should introduce yourself if necessary, explain why you are writing, and provide any relevant background information that will help the recipient understand the purpose of your message.
For example, if you are emailing a new client, your orientation might look something like this:
I hope this email finds you well. My name is [Your Name], and I am the account manager for [Your Company].
I wanted to touch base with you to discuss the progress of our project and make sure we are still on track to meet our goals.
By providing this orientation, you are giving your recipient the information they need to understand who you are, why you are emailing them, and what they can expect from your message.
Before starting to write an email, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the purpose of the email?
- Why is the recipient receiving the email?
- What is the main idea or point you want to convey?Who is the audience for this email?
- What action do I want the recipient to take after reading this email?
The second component of the OIA approach is information. This is where you provide the details of your message, including any relevant facts, figures, or data that support your point. In this section, you should be as clear and concise as possible, using bullet points or numbered lists to make the information easy to read and digest. The information section should be organized logically and presented in a clear and concise manner. It should answer the following questions:
- What is the supporting evidence for the main idea or point you want to convey?
- What are the key details that the recipient needs to know?
- Are there any relevant facts, figures, or data that support your argument?
For example, if you are emailing a colleague to update them on a project, your information section might look something like this:
Here are the key updates on the project:
We have completed the research phase and are now moving into the design phase
Our team has identified several potential roadblocks that we will need to address, including a tight deadline and a limited budget
We are currently working on a detailed project plan and timeline that we will share with the rest of the team once it is complete
By providing this information, you are giving your recipient the details they need to understand the situation fully and make informed decisions.
When providing information in an email, it is important to keep in mind the following:
- Be clear and concise
- Use bullet points or numbered lists to break up the text
- Use bold or italics to highlight important information
The third and final component of the OIA approach is action. This is where you make a specific request or call to action, letting the recipient know what you want them to do as a result of your email. In this section, you should be clear and concise, using specific language to convey your message.
The action section should be direct and actionable. It should answer the following questions:
- What do you want the recipient to do?
- What is the deadline for the action?
- Are there any specific instructions or details that the recipient needs to know?
For example, if you are emailing a vendor to request a quote, your action section might look something like this:
Please provide a detailed quote for the following items by Friday, May 20th:
50 units of product A
25 units of product B
10 units of product C
By providing this specific call to action, you are making it clear to your recipient what you need them to do and by when.
The OIA approach can be used to save time and improve the effectiveness of your email communication. By providing a clear orientation, you can quickly grab the recipient’s attention and set the tone for the rest of the email. Providing the necessary information in a concise and relevant manner helps to ensure that the recipient fully understands the purpose of your email. Finally, providing a clear call-to-action helps to avoid confusion and ensures that the desired outcome is achieved.
In addition, the OIA approach can be used to improve the overall professionalism and clarity of your email communication. By following a structured approach, you can avoid rambling or unclear messages that may be difficult for the recipient to follow. This can help to improve the overall perception of you as a communicator and increase the likelihood of a positive response from the recipient.
Subject: Reminder – Meeting at 2 PM
Hello [Recipient Name],
I hope this email finds you well. This is a friendly reminder that we have a meeting scheduled for 2 PM today in Conference Room A. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the progress of the project we have been working on.
Please come prepared with any updates or concerns you may have regarding the project. I have attached a copy of the meeting agenda for your reference.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
In this example, the writer has provided clear and concise information about the meeting, including the time, location, and purpose. They have also reminded the recipient to come prepared with any necessary updates or concerns. The attachment of the meeting agenda provides additional information that the recipient may need to fully understand the purpose of the meeting.
Request For A Meeting
Subject: Request for Meeting to Discuss Product Launch
I hope this email finds you well. I am reaching out to request a meeting with you to discuss the upcoming product launch.
As you may know, our team has been working hard to prepare for the launch, and I believe it would be beneficial to review our progress and discuss any outstanding issues or concerns.
Specifically, I would like to discuss the following topics during our meeting:
Our progress on the product development and testing
The marketing and advertising strategy for the launch
The sales and distribution plan for the product
Any potential roadblocks or challenges that we need to address before the launch
If possible, I would like to schedule this meeting for next Wednesday, May 19th, at 10 am. Please let me know if this works for you, and if not, please suggest an alternative time that would be more convenient.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to speaking with you soon.