Email: How to Keep it Professional and Effective

Writing emailIn these days of communication it is important to understand and distinguish the difference between all kinds of communication avenues especially email.

 

Take text messaging for example, it is used primarily to send a quick , informal back and forth conversation usually no more than a few words or a single sentence. But in the professional arena most will utilize email, whether it is in a formal email to a client or a responsive email or even utilizing a LinkedIn email to reach out to fellow professionals. How you write the email is especially important. It can make the difference between making a sale, getting a promotion or  finding a job. You will be perceived on the way you write.

  1. Start by knowing your audience – I know this sounds elementary but you would not guess how many emails I receive with words misspelled, misused or simply a half thought. If you are sending an email to your friend asking about where to meet for happy hour, that’s one thing, but when you are writing an email to a company, within your own company or to a client make sure you proofread what you have written to ensure all your words are correct and you have thought out what you are saying. Pretend you received the email, does it make sense to you and does it look like someone put thought into it?
  2.  Write a subject line that is straight forward – when you view your email subject lines does it make you want to start thinking or want to open it up immediately? Be thoughtful how you word your subject line, “follow up on today’s meeting” – that’s pretty clear what will be in the email. If it is meant as a short message, just put it in the subject line like, “only 8 for today’s meeting, room 101?”, then the person can already be thinking and respond quickly. Never leave a blank subject line to an email, this shows you put no thought into the email at all.
  3. Always start with a greeting, make sure this matches your email recipient as well. “Dear Mrs.Smith” for a formal email, “Hello Katy” for a more friendly, warm email and for an informal email,”Good morning”. Make sure as you craft your email to make small paragraphs with a space between them. Make each paragraph a singular thought, no one likes one big page with thoughts that just run on forever!
  4. Keep emails in the office as a source of professional interaction and information. Do not use it as a tool to take out frustration or bad mouth a fellow associate. If you need to criticize or discuss a disagreement with someone, it is better to do that in person. First of all your email may come across much stronger than you meant it to or you may jump the gun and not get all the facts before pushing “send”, either way it is a lose/lose situation.
  5. One of the most important email etiquette rules is to respond quickly. Even if you don’t have the full answer for someone you can always say,”Let me check on that and get back to you”. At least their email has been acknowledged.

For more details on the art of crafting professional emails check out these site:

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