Whether you like it or not, emailing is the top form of communication in the business world. It’s easy, effective, reliable and quick. For boomer professionals, it can be especially helpful as it keeps you connected to work whether you’re keeping regular office hours or working remotely. However, many people take email writing for granted, treating it like an informal communication. With it becoming so essential at work, it’s vital you know to proper ways to write professional and effective emails.
Read before you write.
Replying to emails seems to be a major struggle for people. You want to do it in a timely fashion and some days it seems like the emails just won’t stop. However, replying accurately and in a helpful manner is much more important than replying quickly. Don’t just skim through the email and assume you know what they’re asking. Read it. understand the question or the situation before replying. We all know how frustration it is when you get a response back from an email that doesn’t answer the very basic question you asked. Don’t be on the other end of that. Read each email carefully before replying.
Don’t ignore the subject line.
The subject line is a very important part of your email and it is one that it too often ignored. Part of what helps you write effective emails is by considering how you would feel receiving this email. You may think keeping the subject line empty is fine because they know what this is about, but it’s annoying to get those mystery emails. Likewise, be straight-forward with the subject line. The purpose of it is to get people’s attention, so being vague isn’t serving anyone. Let them know up front what you’re addressing.
Take your time.
The ease at which an email can be written and sent out is sometimes too much of a luxury. People speed through their inboxes, firing off replies as fast as they can type and feeling awfully productive for it. but as easy as it is to send and receive emails, these are still a professional communication and should be treated as such. Don’t rush through your emails without taking time to read it over and check for spelling or grammar mistakes. It may not seem important but getting an email riddles with errors doesn’t bode well.
Keep it short.
The reason emails have largely replaced conference calls is because they cut through the redundancies and get to the point. They are designed to be brief messages only concerned with the essentials. At the very most, your email should be a couple paragraphs long. If it turns out any longer than that, you either have things to cut or you need to pick up a phone and have a conversation.
Mind the appropriate thread.
Sometimes it’s easy and practical to carry on the same thread for a while. This means if you’re in an email conversation about a particular issue, you just keep returning to the same thread of emails whenever something new comes up. However, be wary of where the conversation is going. Don’t keep returning to the thread out of convenience if the conversation starts to become about something else. It can become confusing and information can be lost.
Be aware of tone.
Tone in written form can be tricky to get across. This becomes especially true with emails as the writing style is often conversational in nature. However, how something sound in your head can be very different to how it sounds to a person reading it. It’s fine to keep a lighter tone in your writing but try to consider how the person receiving the message will take the information.
Understand your message.
Each email, no matter how short, has a message. You have a purpose for writing each and every email you send out. However, sometimes people tend to surround that message with a lot of nonsense. When you don’t keep that message in your mind while writing you can tend to ramble on and the message can get lost. Know your message at every point. Know it before you start writing, keep it in your head as you write and think about it when you’re rereading.