E-mail is the communication tool we love to hate. But it's not improper "etiquette" or even spam that's the problem: It's bad writing, plain and simple.

In a blog post for Harvard Business Review, author and entrepreneur David Silverman offers a four-point improvement plan.

1. Include a call to action. Does your e-mail ask the reader to do anything? If not, why are you sending it?

2. Be upfront. Is the e-mail's purpose clear from its subject line and first sentence?

3. Assume nothing. Verify what you think the audience already knows, because it may not.

4. Think it through. Are your views or requests clear? Don't force people to read your mind.