Due to the world of technology we live in, a simple email to colleagues and professional connections is sometimes the easiest way to respond. But crafting the perfect professional email isn’t the easiest thing to do. Here are some tips on what to do and not to do when using your email during work hours:
- Do not use ‘textspeak.’ The influence of social media and texting should not infiltrate your professional emails. While LOL (laugh out loud) and BRB (be right back) are fine for friends and family, those abbreviations can portray you as unprofessional and uneducated to the recipient of your email.
- Make sure you are spelling out every word and speaking in a professional tone to your colleagues, the media and clients to avoid these stigmas.
- Proofread. Nothing is worse than rereading an email you just sent and realizing you have misspellings and misuse of words or have addressed someone with the wrong name. Proofreading not only looks for grammatical mistakes, it also makes sure your context is correct, and that your email is concise and complete.
- Be prompt in your replies. Some emails are more important than others, and that’s OK. However, being prompt in response, especially to urgent emails, will not only help you look more professional, it will also make communication a lot easier. Typically, a 24-hour response window is acceptable for a response. If you can’t respond in that timeframe, acknowledge the email and let the person know you will get back to them shortly.
- Create an email of acceptable length. Too short of an email comes across blunt and rude, while too long of an email will get closed before the entirety is read. The average length of a good, professional email is about five sentences. If you need to say more, either add an attachment or schedule a meeting or phone call to give more detail.
- Your signature should give your contact information. Your email and phone number are important parts of an email signature. It encourages people to respond and to follow up if they have further questions or suggestions about the subject matter.
- Make your subject lines purposeful. Don’t make your recipients question what is inside the email. One-word subject lines are not sufficient; no subject line is even worse. A sentence subject line can be a better indicator to the receiver of what’s inside and if it is urgent or can be read later in the day.
- Put your main message in the first sentence. Don’t make the person you are emailing read a novel. Make the length of your email short and concise with the most important point at the beginning. Follow it up with a few details about the subject and a prompt to call to action.
- Have a purpose to your email. Don’t send pointless messages. It’s easy to send one-word responses, like yes and no, to emails containing a simple question. Rather than just sending that one-word, elaborate on the point and show you are thinking about the subject matter.