Emails have become the most common way for most people to communicate. We often don’t have the time to use the telephone, and if we do try, we seem to get lost in call centre hell. Getting in touch via email seems perfect. The problem with this lies in the messages created by writers who don’t understand email etiquette, and care even less for spelling and grammar.
If you’re prepared to saunter up to a potential client and high five them in the street with dirty hands, nothing I can say will help you. If you do care about first impressions, I hope these email tips improve your communication skills.
The Top Seven Tips for Writing Emails
1. Break it up
White space is better than one big block of writing. It is off-putting to read five thoughts in one long paragraph. Break up your email, and try to limit what you’re asking, or saying, to only three things per email.
Don’t neglect the basics of your email. A page that is filled with mistakes could lead to you losing business, or being misunderstood.
3. Write a letter
First impressions count. Use the professional appearance of a letter. Include a greeting, paragraphs, and your signature. This gives readers the idea that you care about the impact you have on them. They perceive you as professional.
Internet slang is not recommended. Words should be spelled out in full. It is easier to read and it shows you care about grammar. If writing isn’t your strength, at least make the effort to check your email with grammar software.
5. Dear ?
Avoid basic mistakes. These include incorrectly spelled email addresses, sending emails to the wrong recipient, and incorrectly spelled names. People don’t like it when you do this.
6. Say it out loud
Read your entire email out loud. Does it flow? Does it make sense? When you hear what you’ve written, it is easier to fix your mistakes.
7. Calm down
Never send an email when you’re angry. You will write things that you will regret.
If you make any of these mistakes, it may not be the end of the world, but it does give the impression that you couldn’t really be bothered to check what you’re doing. A reasonable client will probably ask if he or she really wants to do business with someone like that. If you want to succeed in business, take time to get this right.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about our business writing course, The Plain Language Programme.
by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write