Are you guilty of poor work email etiquettes? Well, if your answer is no then you might have overlooked some of these email basics or have just failed to recognise them as work email faux pas. Email is a prominent mode of communication particularly in a corporate workplace and yet, many of us tend to send poorly crafted and ineffective emails. Bearing in mind that it is a form of written communication, emails create records of our communication. Once they are sent out, we no longer have control over them. Hence, craft your work emails right based on structure, tone and of course, content for your messages to be conveyed more effectively and professionally. You definitely do not want to offend your colleagues, bosses or clients (and risk losing your job) because you failed to exercise proper work email etiquettes.
1. Ensure Clarity in Subject of Email
Let the recipients know the content of the email in the subject. This will allow them to prioritize reading and responding to the emails accordingly.
2. Check Spelling and Grammar
Some common grammar errors that depict unprofessionalism include using ‘then’ instead of ‘than’, ‘revert’ instead of ‘reply’ etcetera. ‘Then’ referring to the order of time and ‘than’, normally used as comparatives are frequently used interchangeably by senders. Also, ‘revert’ means to return to original state, unlike commonly perceived to be synonymous to ‘reply’.
3. Be Mindful of Tone and Punctuations
Leave out internet slangs and abbreviations such as ‘LOLs’ and ‘TTYL’, and emoticons in your professional email correspondences. Use CAPS and punctuations appropriately as they can wrongly set the tone of your email. While your intentions may be good, the unnecessary use of CAPS and exclamation marks, which shout urgency and/or frustration, can easily be offensive and unprofessional to your colleagues, bosses or clients. This might just be that one email error that can make or break your career.
4. Do not Respond Impulsively to Negative Emails
You should clear your minds first before responding to negative emails. Replying or reacting impulsively does little or nothing to salvage the situation. Just breathe and approach the email in a tactful and professional manner.
5. Check Attachments
The most common email mistake that all of us are guilty of – to leave out or send incorrect attachments. Always check that you are sending the correct attachments to the correct recipients. This is especially crucial in the working world where you do not want to disclose confidential company information to unintended recipients.
6. Keep Paragraphs Short
Keep your paragraphs short and tidy. It is best to introduce yourself first if you are communicating with the recipient for the first time. Otherwise, keep it concise and clear, and convey the objective of your email in the first paragraph itself. In other words, just get to the point! Eventually, you want to send an effective email, which is direct as to what is required in response.
7. Include Email Signature
By attaching a signature in your email, the recipients will be able to address and contact you easily by scrolling down to the bottom of the email. Your contact information allows them to connect with you in more ways than just via your email address.
8. Review Message
Always review your message before you click the ‘send’ button. Be it misspellings or missing attachments, you might just be able to save yourself from committing an email faux pas and rectify it before the email reaches your colleagues, bosses or clients.
With professional emails being just as or more important than verbal and non-verbal communication, it is thus essential to refine your email writing skills. You definitely want to improve work communication and make the right impression!