In the modern era, your job may require you to send emails to coworkers, bosses, clients, and more.
Your emails are not simple messages; it represents who you are as a professional employee. Therefore, you want to make sure that each of your emails sent is well-written and easy to read.
If your company uses a specific program – like Microsoft Outlook, for instance – you may want to learn how to apply message formatting. Regardless of the platform you use for messaging, there are various essential tips that you should be mindful of before you click send on your email.
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Proofread Your Work Emails
The most important and valuable tool that you have at your disposal is proofreading. Before you think about sending your email, consider an important question: does your email make grammatical and logical sense?
Check for any grammatical mistakes by using the email’s prebuilt spellchecker, if available. If you doubt your spellchecker, don’t be afraid to utilize outside resources (like an online dictionary).
Other grammatical errors to look out for may include:
- Incorrect usage of capital letters
- Incorrect usage of punctuation (commas, semicolons, etc.)
- Inappropriate writing style and tone for a professional setting
- Incorrect usage of proper nouns – this is especially important when addressing other people; few things are more embarrassing than misspelling the name of someone (or something) important!
Once your email is ready, read it aloud to see if it makes sense. Sometimes, you can tell if a sentence is “off” simply by the way it sounds.
From there, you can make any corrections to make sure that the overall flow of the email is consistent.
Lastly, and if you have the time, save the email as a draft, and walk away from it. You can also ask any immediate friends or family to read your email to see if they spot any errors.
A good rule of thumb is only to hit “send” when you feel confident that you have proofread and reconsidered everything in your message to the best of your ability.
Be Concise in Work Emails
Everybody at your company has their responsibilities to uphold, so it’s helpful to respect their time by creating concise emails. By making them short, sweet, and to the point, you can get a clear answer back promptly and continue with your day.
First, make sure that your messages include short, easy-to-understand paragraphs. In fact, each paragraph does not have to be any longer than two sentences.
Suppose your email requires you to write multiple full-length paragraphs. In that case, you could consider scheduling an in-person meeting with whomever you are emailing to minimize confusion and miscommunication.
Ensure that each of your paragraphs only includes relevant information. As tempting as it is to incorporate small details that may help your recipient understand your message, but cutting those addendums, you can create an email that is short and direct.
These types of messages are often much easier for a reader to comprehend, and your receiving party will likely ask clarifying questions in response if needed.
Another helpful way of using concise language is being wary of “to be” verbs. For instance, something like “I want to be able to send a report” can shorten to “I am sending a report.”
In this scenario, you would be eliminating a “to be” verb and replacing it with an active verb that eliminates wordiness.
Write in a Respectful Tone
Above all else, convey your message respectfully.
Aggression in an email can come across as mean-spirited since the recipient is not speaking to you directly. You can avoid this accidental tone, even when delivering bad news, by balancing negativity with positivity.
For instance, if you want to critique an employee’s performance, you might start the sentence by saying something positive and end it with your critique.
Additionally, avoid using “but”. It negates the first half of the sentence, so even if you start with something positive, using “but” may make someone think you are being disingenuous. So, replace “but” with “and” so that both statements remain true.
You may also think about including a short signature at the end of your message. These signatures can help convey important contact and personal information to your recipient.
If you’d like, go to your email settings and set up a signature that includes your name, contact phone number, and other sites you are affiliated with.
If your company has a logo, you can consider incorporating the visual as part of your signature. The result is an email that sounds and looks professional, which maintains a respectful tone.
One major takeaway to keep in mind is to make short, concise, and error-free messages to the best of your ability, even in more casual emails. In doing so, you will show your boss that you respect them, and you are telling yourself that you are indeed the professional you’d like others to see you as.