Emails are meant to accelerate and clarify communication in the workplace. From internal memos to important proposals, most of our written communication at work takes place on the web.
Would you believe that the corporate world sends and receives an astounding 89 billion emails per day?
Especially in internal emails, senders tend to underestimate the importance of proper grammar; they forget to include a salutation or a signature; and they abbreviate words that should not be shortened. Even these simple mistakes have the potential to undermine your credibility in the workplace.
Here are some ways to help your email stand out at work:
- Keep it professional. Your email address is essentially your professional persona, so don’t let your business etiquette slip. Some email conversations may be informal, but that doesn’t mean you should stop using correct grammar and punctuation. Typos, slang, and poor writing can be less than flattering and affect how your colleagues perceive you.
- Use subject lines (correctly). It is safe to assume that most professionals are not at Inbox Zero. To cut through the noise in a recipient’s inbox, make sure that your subject line is a summary of the topic within the email. This helps the recipient to gauge the urgency of your message, and serves as a handy search mechanism if they need to find the email at a later date.
- Keep it brief. If your message is too long, the recipient may not have enough time to absorb everything you want them to know. This usually results in a frustrating response that only addresses half of your email. If you have multiple topics to address, try sending separate emails, each with their own subject lines. The reader will be able to identify them and read accordingly.
- Include a “next step.” Ensure that your email has a purpose. Are you asking a co-worker to complete a project? Are you requesting a meeting with a potential partner? If the recipient of your email is not able to quickly respond to your note, the email will be lost in their archives in no time. Make it easy for the recipient to further the digital conversation.
- It’s not a private party. Email is not for your eyes only: Your email can be hacked, forwarded, or officially summoned. Make sure everything you write, especially from your professional address, is above-board. If you are not comfortable with the idea that a person not copied on an email chain may see the note, don’t commit it to writing. Call the recipient instead!
Email has revolutionized the way that professionals communicate. While it is extremely efficient and convenient, it makes bad habits – especially lax spelling and grammar – tempting. By sticking to the guidelines above, you can be sure your emails are an extension of your professional persona: adept, competent, and well-spoken.