How many business emails do you get each day? 50, 100, more? For many of us it seems as if there is no end to the incessant onslaught of email that comes to our mailboxes 24/7. We complain but there is no stopping it and that’s because email is incredibly convenient. We can connect with 1 or 1000 people in a few keystrokes, ask and answer questions, provide information and in general, stay on top of our contacts easier than ever before.
But with the positive comes the downside. The sheer volume of our email makes it difficult to pay rigorous attention to what we write and how we respond, and the speed in which we hit “send” can cause serious problems.
Here are five “rules” that can help you avoid email “disasters”:
Take Your Time
Taking the time to reread your emails for content and clarity, spelling, punctuation and grammar, as well as tone, will save you problems in the future. Poor writing, spelling and grammar will undermine your reputation, and the content and tone can actually serve to cause rifts and ruptures in relationships that you have worked hard to build.
Cut the Thread
When an email volley goes back and forth three or more times it is time to pick up the telephone. This is especially true when attempting to schedule a meeting or gain clarification on a piece of information, and remember that you can always send an email to “confirm” the date or information that has been shared. There are also many appointment-scheduling apps that help to eliminate the tedious back and forth involved with scheduling.
Inappropriate comments, a hostile and aggressive tone, or a message that is overly succinct and abrupt, may annoy certain recipients yet some people can’t seem to help themselves. Emails are easily forwarded and last “forever” so be careful not to write anything that you wouldn’t want out in public.
Excessive use of exclamation points, emojis, colorful borders and fonts can be perfectly fine if you are communicating with your friends and family but should be avoided when sending business email. If you want to be taken seriously you must represent yourself accordingly.
It’s Not Funny
It’s difficult to effectively convey humor in writing, and sarcasm can easily fall flat. Save your jokes and sarcastic asides for in-person or telephone conversations so you can be certain that what you have said is not being taken the wrong way.
What do you think when you get an email that is filled with mistakes and obviously sent in haste? Remember to not be that person and undermine your reputation and business you’ve worked so hard to build.