Can you email in five sentences?

I have a problem.

In all my years being a professional ‘Logistics Queen’ I’ve rarely been able to email anyone without telling them my life story first.

Well that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but one of my biggest communication fails is that I do tend to over explain myself.

However, since I am starting from a clean slate I’m currently analysing my work flow (using tools such as Draft, Trello,  Buffer) to stream line these processes and take away from the ‘noise’ in my inbox. Even updating my Trello boards feels like a ‘to do’ task but I will try and get better at writing shorter and snappier emails.

I’ve heard of many founders using as ‘a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be five sentences or less.’ In all my emails, I have never seen the ‘five sentence rule’ written at the bottom of anyone’s signature.

The inventor of, Mike Davidson, VP of design at Twitter, was inspired to follow this rule because:

‘When faced with an inbox of 100-400 messages, I usually find myself replying to the messages which are quickest to reply to, rather than which are most important to reply to. The end result is a continual paring down of my inbox until I have 50 really important messages to reply to which are then too old to take care of.’

But I was curious to know how other people have used this rule and to what degree it has been a success.

‘Less than five sentences is often abrupt and rude, more than five sentences wastes time,’ says Guy Kawasaki, Author of APE, and serial entrepreneur (via

Have you managed to use the Five Sentence rule?