Email is the main source of communication in the business world; however, there are many mistakes a writer can make when drafting an email to their coworkers and - even worse - to upper management. Since email allows the reader to interpret the tone of the email whichever way they want, it is important to learn some simple steps to make sure that your point is coming across the way that you intended it to.
Here are some common email mistakes that you might be making:
- Forgetting that there is a real person on the other side of the email – It is just simply polite to start any communication with a “hi” and to end with a “thank you” although many times these simple pleasantries are left out of emails. Adding these along with addressing the recipient by name can go a long way.
- Making messages too lengthy – The longer the email, the less likely the recipient is going to read the entire thing. Long emails generally mean that a larger strategy, framework, or document might be in order and sometimes it is easier to have a conversation discussing these points vs. drafting an email. Also, many managers do not have time to read through your book report of an email. Rather, they want the cliff note version, so summarize the purpose of your email. Try using bullet points because they are a quick, easy way to get your point across.
- Sending the email at the wrong time – Sending an email when you are angry is probably the worst possible time. The recall option is far from perfect and sending a business email tainted by emotion is not a good move. If you are mad at something or someone, you should take some time before sending it. Save the draft and see if you still want to send it the next morning.
- Sending to too many people – Not everyone needs to be included in on your emails. A perfect email is one that’s sent to exactly who it needs to go to, with a specific desired outcome. The more specific you can be about who you ask, the better.
- Forgetting the tone of your message – They say that first person communication is 93% non-verbal. When an email is 100% text it can be easy to forget about the tone of your text and, even more importantly, how the message will be perceived by the recipient. Read through the message before sending, just in case something could be taken the wrong way.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread – Few things undervalue your worth and intelligence more than sending out an email that has grammar mistakes and errors. Emails leave a long lasting impression, so make sure that before you send out a group email you read through the content first, do a spell check, and make sure your message is clear and concise.
Just like the saying “think before you speak” you should “think before you email”. Since email is the number one form of communication, the best thing you can do is learn how to write a well-organized and impactful email. You should strive to craft messages that persuade, create content that converts, and use language that inspires action.
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