In the flood of emails received every day, once in a while, we will get one that sticks out like an eyesore. Remember this? Writing emails is not a skill that everyone has mastered. Before getting to the keyboard, make sure you avoid the following seven fatal mistakes.
- Don’t misspell. No excuse for that in the world of online dictionaries and apps checking your spelling, grammar and punctuation. A spell check does not hurt – especially if it’s as good as Grammarly, for instance. All in all, there’s a moral dimension to this, too: each time you write “your” instead of “you’re”, a baby panda dies! Or somebody else might, if you give them a palpitating rollercoaster of a read. In a moment of absolute doubt, email your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org We will be gentle, promise. If you see a horror of a mistake in your incoming correspondence, hand the culprit our business card, we will deal with them nicely.
- Don’t go crazy with fonts. Comic Sans is for comics only, end of. Thou shall not use it. Ever. You would not wear a pink frock to a funeral, would you? If you want to be seen as a professional, always stick to professional tools and formats. The trick with an email is to make the content exciting, not the packaging. Do not distract the addressee from the message you have created with purple Lucida.
- Don’t yell. It will not make things go faster just because you keep the caps lock permanently on. If the key is stuck with a Dorito, remove it, the Dorito that is, not the key. Using capitals not only shows lack of respect, but also shows that you stress out quickly and cannot control your anger. If it is a matter of urgency, call your guys, but never rush them with capitals. It is a failed strategy, and an ugly one at that.
- Don’t mistreat. Ya wanna live? Remember who you are dealing with! If every email exchange is an act of building – and managing – relationships, it is essential to take care of whoever your addressee might be. How to do this? Take care of the tone. Do not be stiff or overly formal, make sure you keep the email personal but stay away from smileys (especially those unusual pictograms like aubergines ?). Keep the tone of your message in line with your relationship to the recipient – adequate, kind, and caring.Title like a pro. Imagine you’re the one to read your own email. Would you pay attention to the subject line? Hell yeah! It’d be the first thing to attract your attention and make you read it, or to find it absolutely irrelevant. Thus, you’d better make your title brief and informative. No confusion needed here. Make use of square brackets for the main point, as in the following example:
Subject: [Email Ninja] How to title like a pro.
If you expect the recipient to check your presentation or do some proofreading, make them aware of that immediately.
Subject: [Email Ninja] Presentation to check
Should you want anyone to act immediately, flag your message or add a proper description to the title.
Subject: [Email Ninja] Some urgent questions
- Don’t overspace. As you know, reading is a structured process. We move from word to word, sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph. Each stands separately to mean something individual. Remember then: a paragraph takes more than a line. Why do you keep writing one-sentence paragraphs then? Are they actually paragraphs? Are they informative enough?
What’s more, if you eventually write a full-length paragraph, don’t overspace, please. Five lines between sentences are not liberating, but ugly. Overspacing does not look neat and might frustrate the reader at once.
- Don’t overinvest. Yet another email to reply gives you a sleepless night? Do you sit on your answers for hours? Get your act together! Don’t procrastinate or waste time overthinking what to write and how to write it. Don’t browse the Internet for more inspiration. Approaching an email is not a time-consuming process one needs to divide into a couple of phases and sweat over tortuously. Why don’t you approach it in a more natural way? It’s a part of your work routine, not a Goliath that you, David, gotta fight against. Do your best to develop good habits. Our Language Extreme training in communication will make it easier for you to write quickly and neatly.
You know the rules already. Now it’s high time you put them into practice. Want to be an Email Ninja? Follow our regular publications for more know-how.
Oh, should you need immediate assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll rush to help you and your email, not necessarily in this order.
Contact Language Extreme at email@example.com