Studies and surveys have confirmed that every employee spends considerable time in reading and replying mails every day. In spite of prolonged use of email as a medium for communication, it is surprising that majority of professionals are not making proper use of the facility. Simple email errors can lead to irreparable damage to relationships or can seriously impact business.
Most of the common email errors can be attributed to the huge volume of mails that are being handled by individuals. There is always a possibility of overlooking the basic etiquettes due to sheer workload of attending to hundreds of mails. In the following discussion, you will be able to understand simple and practical guidelines while writing emails in a business environment.
Clarity of subject line- Your recipient must be able to develop an unambiguous understanding about the subject line of your email. Crisp and to the point subject line is an important feature of every email that motivates the reader to open the mail. It has been observed that recipients read the subject line before opening the mail and an unclear subject line may prompt the reader to postpone opening of the mail.
Mind your address- Professional mails must be sent from professional address. Never use a personal address to send a professional communication to your prospective client or any other business associate. Professional email address imparts a sense of urgency as well as authenticity to your mail. The recipient is more prone to attend to emails sent from professional email addresses.
While creating your professional email address you must include your name for ease of identification. Your professional email address should read as ‘[email protected]’ it may also include your position such as ‘[email protected]’. Use of your position in email address is preferred to maintain consistency of the address even if a particular person is replaced.
Pause before hitting ‘reply all’- It is highly irksome to receive copies of emails that may not be relevant to you. Therefore, you need to think twice before marking your reply to all. Ideally, you should spend a moment to ensure that every recipient has relevance to the subject matter and deserves to be included in the list of recipients.
Inclusion of a signature block- A signature bock is nothing but your e-visiting card. It provides vital information about your position, telephone number, and other components of contact information to facilitate recipients to contact you without any hassles. The font and type size should be uniformly maintained throughout the mail to avoid distraction and boost natural flow of the email.
Always use classic fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial and keep the font size as 12 to make sure that the message can be read with ease.
Maintain professionalism while addressing recipient- Use of informal expressions such as ‘hey’ or ‘Hi buddy’ will degrade the professional standard of your email communication. It would be a better choice to use ‘hi’ or ’hello’ instead. The basic idea is to maintain a professional distance without getting personal. Hence use of short names such as Mike or Johnny should be strictly avoided.
Keep emotions at bay- Professional emails should not be stuffed with exclamation marks. Use these only if you must. It is a natural human tendency to get emotional while expressing oneself. However a professional communication needs to be straightforward. You may make an exceptional use of an exclamation mark to communicate your excitement about certain development.
Same rule applies to use of humor in an email communication that is aimed to be a professional one. Humor can get distorted and can convey personal undertones. A seemingly innocent witty or humorous statement can imply radically different meaning when it is written down. The best way is to shun humorous statements in professional communications.
Understanding cultural diversity- People from different countries have different ways of communicating with their overseas business associates. High context culture refers to countries such as UAE, Japan, and China while low context culture is associated with western countries. If you are dealing with customers with high context cultural background, then you need to know that these individuals prefer to be personal in their communications unlike associates from low context cultural background who prefer to get down to business swiftly.
Never ever fail to reply- Each and every email that is addressed to you should be replied as soon as possible, particularly if the sender is looking forward to your reply. In case the mail has been marked to you by oversight, then you need to reply by pointing out that the mail is not intended for you so that the sender will arrange to send the mail to the right person.
Read before you send- Proofreading your mail is a good habit. Even if you have committed a mistake unknowingly, your recipient will not fail to notice the same. You may cultivate a habit of reading your message loudly to be doubly sure about the flawlessness of the same.
There is always a possibility of the message being sent accidentally before you have finished proofreading it. The best way to avoid such an embarrassment is to enter the recipient’s address only when you have checked your message. It is also advisable to recheck the recipients’ addresses.
Play safe and be polite- Electronic messages are easy to be shared and this may cause you great harm if you have written some unpalatable things that are not supposed to be read by others. Hence, it is always better to play safe by assuming that your message is going be read by everyone.
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