If you think writing well in business is overrated, think again. Sidekick recently conducted a survey, asking readers about their biggest email pet peeves. It seems that poor grammar is the biggest problem, especially if you are sending an email looking for new business.
As the graph shows, 40% of people said bad grammar was their biggest pet peeve, 39% did not enjoy long-winded emails, and 15% said the lack of a clear question bothered them. These three answers accounted for 94% of all pet peeves.
I have written extensively about these problems on this blog. We all know that first impressions matter, so take time to learn the basics of good grammar and email etiquette before you approach new clients.
Here are five tips to help you:
- Triple check spelling, punctuation, and grammar before you send that email. I will never respond to a cold email if it is riddled with errors. This also applies if you want a positive response when you are writing for social media.
- Include a clear, relevant subject line. I have written about the 12 worst mistakes people make in subject lines here.
- Your email should be brief, but not abrupt. Make sure you have included a polite greeting and an appropriate sign-off.
- Don’t forget the question. Ask a simple question that gives the recipient a course of action to follow. I dislike badly-written emails that do not tell me what the sender wants from me. Remember the ABCs of effective communications.
- Be professional. Avoid fancy fonts, emoticons, and gifs. Your email is not an art project. You do not want to alienate clients.
If you want to improve your business writing, join us for The Plain Language Programme.
by Amanda Patterson.