Here’s another helpful post from our friends at Savvy Sugar. Check it out:
Writing an effective, direct and friendly professional email is an art form. It takes forethought, tact and careful effort. It also means paying attention to possible pitfalls before you hit send. Here are seven avoidable sins you can steer clear of with a little extra care.
Sin #1: Angry Email
It’s easy to get worked up at work. Sharing close quarters while juggling everyone’s different communication styles, tempers and egos, as well as the overall office hierarchy, can create a ticking time bomb. When you do get upset, it’s important to address your frustrations in the most professional manner possible, so you don’t regret anything you say later. Don’t make flighty accusations or excuses on the fly. Consider the consequences before you hit send.
Sin #2: Poor Timing
Too late: If you wait too long, you risk appearing out of the loop and someone else on the chain might trump your great idea or needs.
Too soon: You run the risk of looking overeager and uninformed, or making hasty mistakes. Take some time to digest the message or your intended news, and make sure you deliver it effectively.
Just right: If you work in a fast-paced environment and the email requires immediate reaction, aim to reply within the half hour or hour. If it’s less urgent, reply by the end of day or next day. Of course, the one-touch rule will do wonders for your productivity.
Sin #3: Wordiness
It’s an email, not a book. Keep it concise and clear and suggest a meeting or phone call if you end up writing more than a page or two, so you can walk everyone through the important details. Are the details not so important? Scratch them.
Sin #4: Sloppiness
Recipients notice typos, random capitalization, the fact that you forgot to attach a document or even the name of an attached document. The devil is in the details, so pay close attention to them and check and double check high-priority emails before sending them.
Sin #5: TMI
We’ve all shared TMI at the office before—whether over-sharing about details of a project, gossip about a co-worker, or personal updates—and know it can leave you feeling uneasy and awkward. Think about the message you are conveying in your email and the fact that an email will live forever in the recipient’s inbox.
Sin #6: The Dreaded Reply All
Don’t reply all if 90% of the people you are responding to don’t need to know whatever you are sharing or if your response could offend anyone, and double check to make sure you aren’t replying all by accident. People who work at the computer spend hundreds of hours reading email yearly, so it’s important to do your part to keep it professional and necessary.
Sin #7: Vague and Undirected
Don’t play around. Be specific and go for the goal! Say what you need, want, where you will meet, and what time. If you are directing others, direct them! There’s a reason you are sending the email, right?