Sunday, 14 September 2014

Professional emails for dummies

Did you ever had one of those days at work that you received so many emails you just feel like throwing yourself out of the nearest window? I know I had. This is the daily struggle of bosses and employees. Our inbox will define how we start the day, and how late we will get home for dinner. 

Here's my question: since emails are such a great part of our way of communicating with each other professionally, shouldn't we know how to do it right? Nonetheless, everyday I read emails from clients and partners that give me chills... Here are some tips on how to write an email properly, according to my experience:

1. Get off on the right foot: Starting an email without some kind of greeting is just rude and what you should say will depend on who you are addressing. Keep it simple and adjust the formality of the message to the person you are trying to reach. For example, sometimes a simple "Hi" is OK, but in other situations you have to go with "Dear Sir/ Madam".

2. Focus: Go straight to the point. Professional emails are supposed to be simple and efficient. If I wanted to know what you did last weekend, I would friend you on Facebook. Of course there is always time for a friendly tip here and there, just don't stretch it. 

3. To/ cc/ bcc fields: If you don't know the difference by now, you should Google it asap. This is really important if you are working with different companies, or applying to different jobs, or the information is confidential, etc. This tool allows you to communicate in a better and faster way, so don't forget to use it. 

4. Punctuation: It's not like you didn't learn to use it when you were eight years old! Why are you doing it wrong? These are my personal favorites:
  • Huge number of a particular punctuation mark (???? / !!!!)
  • Not using punctuation at all
  • All of the above
I'm not saying that every email has to be perfect. When we are trying to get everything done and people are calling, and everything is happening at the same time, I'm sure some mistakes will happen! In my opinion, some are acceptable, others are just lack of professionalism

5. Saying goodbye: "Xoxo" is not an option, ok? Unless you are Gossip Girl, that is not a possibility. I personally like to write something like "kind regards" because it sounds nice and polite. If you don't like this one, there are other options: best regards, many thanks, yours faithfully, etc. It's up to you!

Hopefully these tips will stop you from making some common mistakes.
Keep up the good work! :)

Your TopCrusher,