On an average day, skimming through e-mails is likely to take up to 28% of your time at work. Just the sheer volume of e-mails we have to go through & respond to each day, makes it a daunting enough task, let alone trying to make it as professional & error free as possible. And no matter how hard you try, there’s a chance of an ‘oops’ moment occurring every now & then. This can cause unnecessary stress , miscommunication, awkwardness & wasted time at work hence it becomes important to observe some golden tips on how to keep your professional communication stress & error free.
Here are 10 ways to ensure a hassle free work e-mail routine –
A clear subject line.
Chances are, your recipient’s inbox is just as clogged as yours, so the clearer your subject line, the more likely are the chances of your e-mail being read. For example, if you’re sending a quotation to someone, be crisp & clear and write, “Blue Whistle Quotation Attached.”
Save A signature.
Every email should include a signature that tells the recipient who you are and how to contact you. Set it up to automatically appear at the end of each email. Include all of your contact details so the recipient doesn’t have to look up your address, email or phone number.
Use a professional salutation.
Using “Hey,” “Yo,” or “Wassup” isn’t professional, no matter how well you know the recipient. Use “Hi” or “Hello” instead. To be more formal, use “Dear ( name).” Using the person’s name in the salutation — “Hi Samuel” — is appropriate, but remember not to shorten a person’s name unless you’re given permission to do so.
Humor does not translate well via text. Because humor is generally communicated through tone, expression & body language, what you think is funny has a good chance of being misinterpreted by the other party, or taken as sarcasm, without the said aspects. Therefore, it’s best to leave humor out of business communications.
Always proofread your message.
Having grammatical errors, spelling mistakes & incorrect usage of words littered around your e-mail can cause judgement & you may ultimately be perceived, sloppy or even unprofessional. To avoid this, always check spelling, grammar and the message before hitting “send.”
Avoid the Chain Mail fiasco
Create your message as a stand-alone note, even if it is in response to a chain of emails. This means no “one-liners.” Include the subject and any references to previous emails, research or conversations. It can be frustrating and time consuming to look back at the chain to brush up on the context. Your recipient may have hundreds of emails coming in each day and likely won’t remember the chain of events leading up to your email.
Respond to all emails.
Give a timely and polite reply to each legitimate email addressed to you. Even if you do not have an answer at the moment, take a second to write a response letting the sender know you received their email. Inform the sender if their email was sent to the wrong recipient, too.
Avoid ‘spur of the moment’ emotional responses
Never send an angry email, or give a quick, flip response. Give your message some thoughtful consideration before sending it. If you feel angry, avoid writing a response right away. Collect your thoughts in order to jot down points that bring the focus back to things that matter or practical points you would like to highlight in response.
Keep private material confidential.
It is far too easy to share emails, even inadvertently. If you have to share highly personal or confidential information, do so in person or over the phone. Ask permission before posting sensitive material either in the body of the email or in an attachment.
Avoid overuse of Capitalization & Exclamation points.
Exclamation points and other indications of excitement such as emoticons, abbreviations like LOL, and all CAPITALS do not translate well in business communications. Leave them off unless you know the recipient extremely well. It’s also not professional to use a string of exclamation points!!!!!
It may take some practice to keep your emails professional and to the point, but you will look more professional and organized in the long run.