Tips for Writing Business Emails
Consider this. Every business e-mail you write is like a personal PR agent. What do your e-mails say about you?
Lyndsay Swinton, creator of Management For The Rest Of Us, offers these ten tips to ensure that business e-mails give just the right impression.
- Stop, think, then write (or don’t!): Is email the right communcation medium for the message? Is a phone call better?
- Prevent premature sending: To avoid sending a badly spelled, half written email, wait until you have written the e-mail before you key in the recipient’s names.
- Be professional: You lose control of your e-mail as soon as you hit ‘send’ so stick to professional language.
- Be precise, concise, and clear: This includes actions like keeping e-mails brief, using subject headers, using “urgent” flags sparingly, and using bulleted lists when appropriate.
- Tailor e-mails to your audience: Always open e-mails with a hello and use the name that they signed off with, even if it’s crazyhorse38! If you must send the same e-mail to loads of people, put their address in the bcc box and use just one e-mail address in the To box. This keeps the person’s e-mail address private and makes it look like you’ve taken the time to write a personal e-mail.
- Most people can’t read minds: The more specific you are, the more likely you are to get a response. Also, if responding to multiple questions embedded in a large e-mail, copy the questions into your e-mail and write your answers next to them.
- Keep your cool: Your emotional state can slip into an e-mail without notice, with curt sentences, skipped pleasantries, and blunt asks.
- Need to know basis: A common business e-mail warfare tactic is to cc in senior managers in the vain thought that this adds weight to the communication. Fight your fights in private so that when you really need someone else to step in, they know you mean it.
Writing business e-mails well can make you stand out in the corporate landscape. Writing them badly can do the same, but for very different reasons.