A couple of weeks ago, we covered the importance of establishing boundaries between work and your personal life especially when it comes to your smartphone. However, some of these boundaries apply to more than just your smartphone. In fact, you should practice making these professional emailing habits second nature.
It is easy to slip into an informal tone in emails. It is a problem which plagues every profession. However, it is important to be reminded that all emails sent from your work address should be considered professional communications. Even when writing inter-office emails, you should express yourself in a clear and professional manner.
Use a greeting.
Address the intended recipient of the email. Starting your email off with a “Good morning Stacy!” rather than jumping right into a request or directive can change the entire tone of your communication. Convey your excitement or willingness to work whenever possible by being chipper in your emails. Don’t be overly chipper though; that can be misconstrued as sarcasm or can be just plain annoying which has the opposite effect.
Use proper grammar and punctuation.
Quite often when composing an email, we are tempted to treat it like a text or instant message. When writing in short, quickly dashed off sentences, we are positive that our meaning is crystal clear and is being accurately conveyed. However, incomplete sentences, poor grammar, and vague word choices can impede your meaning and frustrate your reader. Also, always proofread your emails.
Double check that you need to send that email.
Can you look up the answer yourself? Are you emailing the right person with your request? Can this matter be handled more efficiently with a phone call? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then delete that draft. Double check that you are replying to the appropriate people. “Reply All” is a button that should be used sparingly. Most people feel overwhelmed by the amount of emails they receive in a day. Don’t add to that pile.
It is easy to be dismissive of the type of writing that should go into emails. After all, it is an ephemeral type of writing. It’s gone as soon as you press send, and it’s never to be seen again (until it is attached to someone’s reply, or worse forwarded, with your now glaring typo). But without the ability to truly convey tone or emotion in emails, you could end up sending the wrong message and potentially upset your coworkers or your boss. So the next time you’re sending a professional email, utilize these tips to ensure your message is properly received.