The Perfect Email

According to the Radicati Group, 144.8 billion e-mails were generated per day last year, out of which 89 billion, or 61.46%, were business emails. Whoa. No wonder we feel like our first-born children have been preemptively scarified to the email gods. With so many emails flying in and out of your inbox, it’s easy to get fall into a routine of mindlessly replying and senselessly forwarding. But amidst the craziness, one seemingly minor mishap could land you or your organization in hot water.

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To save you the trauma of a major email “oops,” here are our tips to keep your business emails in perfect condition: Subject Strategies The subject is the first thing a reader sees. Think of it as your first impression, even if the email is to your cube-mate. A subject line that is specific to the topic and the action needed will be appreciated by the recipient and help ensure that you get the response you need. For example, we often send clients emails with a subject line that begins, “Response Requested” or “Action Needed,” so that they can clearly differentiate an email that can sit for a while with one that requires more immediate attention. However, be careful about becoming too wordy. You should state the message’s bottom line without summarizing the entire message. Please and Thank You Always mind your Ps and Qs. It is difficult to convey tone through emails, which means that it can be easy to misinterpret the writer’s intention and spiral into a doomsday scenario. Syracuse University researcher Kristin Byron actually found that we tend to misinterpret positive email messages as more neutral and neutral messages as more negative than the sender intended. Remember that statistic when you’re spitting out emails by the second. Examples of simple niceties that go a long way: Dear _______, I look forward to hearing from you. I appreciate your help. Cheers; Best; Looking forward to meeting you in person, etc. Stop Yelling at Me Please, please don’t type in all caps. It’s hard to read, and no one likes being yelled at.

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Use Correct Grammar, yo With slang and informal text lingo creeping into our everyday vocabularies, it is important to follow grammar rules in business emails.  Yes, we are aware “derp” has been added to the dictionary. However, consider your audience and tailor your messaging accordingly. Proper grammar is an important part of being understood and provides a positive first impression as a communicator.
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  Consider the Consequences Remember, emails are not private. They can be forwarded, printed, copied and distributed. Email forwarding can have serious consequences if confidentiality is violated, and sending messages thoughtlessly can turn into a nightmare for both you and your company. A quick joke sent to your co-worker may not end there.  24% of all employers have been ordered to produce employee emails. Consider how your words would reflect upon your company if they were broadcasted to the world, because you never know in whose hands your email might eventually land. Check, please! Create a list of items to check before hitting send. Spell check can be a lifesaver, but don’t rely on it completely. Silly typos may seem insignificant, but they can add up to make you appear uncaring. When in doubt, write and proofread the message in a Word document first. This also eliminates the risk of sending a message on accident. Also, ensure you are sending the email to the correct person. Few things are more embarrassing than having to email someone apologizing for an email that was not suppose to go to them. (It’s not just us, right? We’ve all faced that autofill nightmare. Please say yes, so that we don’t feel so alone.) If you are replying to an email, did you reply or reply all? Did you CC everyone correctly? If there is an attachment, did you remember to include the document? This might seem like a lot of “duh” information, but you’d be amazed how often little things can slip through the cracks. Take the time to craft an eloquent email, and it will pay off in the long run. After all, no one wants to send that message that gets put into blog posts like these as a “what not to do.”

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