Emails have become the most common way for people to communicate. We often do not have the time to use the telephone, and if we do try, we seem to get lost in call centre loops and messaging systems. Getting in touch via email seems perfect for our busy lifestyles.
Problems arise when messages are created by writers who do not understand email etiquette, and who care even less for spelling and grammar.
If you care about first impressions, I hope these email tips help you to improve your communication skills.
The Top 7 Tips for Writing Emails
- Break it up and ask a question. Avoid one big block of writing. It is off-putting to read five thoughts in one long paragraph. Break up your email and try to limit what you’re asking to one thing per email.
- Write a letter. (Note: This does not refer to the length of the message.) First impressions count. Use the professional appearance of a letter. Include a greeting, paragraphs, and your signature. Readers will perceive you as professional.
- Show respect. Do not use emoticons. Internet slang is not recommended. Words should be spelled out in full. It is easier to read and it shows you care about grammar. If writing is not your strength, at least make the effort to check your email with grammar software.
- Spellcheck. Don’t neglect the basics of your email. A page that is filled with spelling and grammatical errors could lead to you losing business, or being misunderstood.
- Check the basics. Avoid basic mistakes. These include incorrectly spelled email addresses, sending emails to the wrong recipient, and incorrectly spelled names. Include an appropriate greeting and sign-off.
- Say it out loud. Read your entire email out loud. Does it flow? Does it make sense? When you hear what you have written, it is easier to fix your mistakes.
- Calm down. Never send an email when you’re angry. You will write things that you will regret.
If you make any of these mistakes, it may not be the end of the world, but it does give the impression that you could not really be bothered to check what you are doing.
A reasonable client will probably ask if he or she really wants to do business with someone like that.
If you want to succeed in business, take time to get this right.
If you want to improve your business writing, join us for The Plain Language Programme.
by Amanda Patterson.
© Amanda Patterson
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