Email is now the most popular method of both personal and professional correspondence. However, a professional email must be treated carefully and differently. Nearly all organizations monitor employee emails, and inappropriate tone or content can be grounds for termination. Emails are also considered as admissible evidence in legal issues. Moreover, colleagues, employees and bosses judge each other’s work quality and professionalism through their routine email communications.
So, it is important to know how to use this convenient method of communication in a proper and professional manner to advance your career and avoid any problems at the workplace. Here are some tips on how to create effective emails for business purposes:
1. Always use a descriptive subject line for every email
Hundreds of emails are exchanged during every workday. Most of us sort through our emails and prioritize them looking at the subject line, and not just at the sender. So, use a brief but proper description of the contents in the subject line to ensure that your email is read or acted upon as required. For example, “Urgent meeting ASAP!” is unsuitable for the subject line. On the other hand “Need to discuss X contract immediately- Meeting at 10 am today” is effective in communicating both the urgency and the details in a professional manner.
2. Short and concise
Business emails must be brief and to the point. Neither colleagues nor bosses would appreciate a rambling email which takes several paragraphs to get to the crux of the matter. Always start the email with the main point. Spare a few moments to jot down or mentally arrange your thoughts before drafting the email, if it is a complex matter.
3. Courteous tone
While the email should be short, don’t trim it at the expense of courtesy and manners. Use a polite tone and include ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘would you’, etc. whenever possible. Similarly, use proper forms of address such as ‘Dear Ms. X.’ or ‘Hello Mr. Y’ unless you are on first name basis with the sender. Always sign off in a friendly manner with a ‘Regards’, ‘Thanks’, ‘Best wishes’, etc. rather than an abrupt or brusque ending, even when writing to your junior employees.
4. Careful about the content
Do take some time to proofread your drafts to ensure that the meaning is clear, unambiguous and 100% accurate. Remember, emails are essentially legal documents and you will be held accountable for what you have written, even if it was a fatal typo. Imagine committing to a vendor, “I guarantee 40% discounts for all our products, accept small orders under $10k”. You wouldn’t convince the judge that you meant ‘except’ instead of ‘accept’.
5. Don’t make it personal
Don’t ever email your office friend asking about his date last night, or tell a sour or lazy colleague to ‘be nice to me for once’ or ‘can you ever complete your work on time?’
Whether you are emailing your favorite or much-disliked colleague- keep any personal, sarcastic or unprofessional remarks out of the email. If you yourself have received a nasty email or an email that has angered you, don’t respond in kind. Try to maintain your professionalism, no matter how difficult it is. Reply politely addressing only the work matters- and copy HR on it, if required.
6. Other tips
General professional etiquette should be followed in your emails too- such as replying within 24 hours, and avoiding the use of ‘reply all’ or ‘bcc’ in all your emails. Send the email directly only to the person responsible for the action, and mark others as ‘cc’. Avoid using unprofessional and annoying “text-speak” such as LOL or SYL in your business emails.
Image credit: Micky Aldridge on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]