Email Etiquette for Today’s Professional
Writing the perfect email is like an art. Calculated highlighting and the use of bold or italics play a major role in the message we are trying to convey. Of course, we all have our own style of composing the picture-perfect email, similar to the way we particularly dot our i’s and cross our t’s, but in this age of Millennials, people want information FAST! Details or deadlines may be missed if your email looks like an essay.
Besides the general “be polite” and “don’t use caps lock” rule, here are a few other do’s and don’ts to consider when you are writing professional emails:
DO: Improve your subject line
By creating short and specific subject lines, you can prompt recipients to open your email or take action much sooner. Place the most important words at the beginning and add due dates if necessary (e.g. “URGENT: Annual Grant Report” or “For Review: November Conference Program – Due Sept. 22”). Clear subject lines also allow for better tracking and organization.
DO: Stay concise.
Having clear and concise communication is crucial. Recipients will scan the first one or two sentences before deciding to take action, file it away or even worse, press delete. You don’t want to waste your time or the receiver’s time by adding unnecessary fluff. Use bullet point format to highlight important notes, action items and due dates/deadlines rather than using whole paragraphs.
DON’T: Reply all, all the time!
Know when it’s imperative to reply all. If your response will affect to outcome of an action, reply all is definitely essential. However if you are simply replying “thank you” or “ok”, you are unnecessarily populating everyone else’s inbox.
DON’T: Use Red font.
Office culture is different all over the world and in some areas red font can be viewed as the equivalent of using caps lock. It gives the impression of someone yelling or being upset. Instead, try using softer colours to emphasize certain points of importance. Purple or blue are perfect examples of colours that don’t come across as a “louder voice” via email.
All things considered, writing the perfect email not only looks great but it can help increase your productivity. By providing information that is clear, concise and effortless to read you are not only helping the recipient, you are managing your time more efficiently! Using softer tones or “voices” may also assist in building better client/colleague relationships. Think of it this way, if someone who is always nice to you asks you to do something and someone, who is not as nice, ask for something at the same time (both requests are of equal importance), who would you help first?
Blog post written by Terra Belanger, Account Coordinator at Managing Matters Inc.