The Art Of Writing Emails

When we were younger, it was important to learn to compose and write a proper letter. It was necessary because we communicated via mail. But times have changed! Now we email and text. It is a whole new world.

One of my insurance trade magazines recently did an article on “mis-sent” emails. This led me on a journey to discover what the etiquette is in regards to business emails and I found a wealth of information.

Business emails are serving as business letters of the past. That is why it is so important to properly convey your message in a professional concise matter. Below you will find some tips that you should consider when sending your next email. I found many listed on www.businessinsider.com.

Include A Clear, Direct Subject Line. People decide whether to open the email based on the subject line. “Hi, there” is not a good subject line. If you are emailing your vendor for information on a billing or maybe asking for a quote on a piece of equipment, you need to reference your business in the subject line as well as why you are writing.

Use A Professional Email Address. You probably have a business email as well as a personal email address. It is important when dealing with business matters to use your professional email address. No one wants to respond to loveyou44@gmail.com for a business situation. Plus if you have two email addresses, it keeps your business life separated from your personal life.

Think Twice Before Hitting “Reply All.” There are times when emails go back and forth. People are included and some aren’t. Always be careful when hitting the “reply all “button. You want to confirm the people you are emailing with are the ones who should see the entire email. A school principal whose accidental “reply all” ended up making major news in the United Kingdom. The email in question? A response to a complaint from an elderly community member which was forwarded to him by a colleague. The principal’s response was probably not appropriate regardless of who it went to but he accidentally sent it to the community member herself, instructing his colleague to “tell her to get stuffed.” Not good.

Use Exclamation Points Sparingly. OK, I admit it, I LOVE exclamation points!!! The experts suggest, however, that if you use them, use only one. They also recommend not using texting abbreviations in your professional email. Don’t use “u” instead of you or “ur” instead of your or “plz” instead of please. And of course no emojis ϑϑϑ. And using all upper case letters is not appropriate. The person you are addressing may think you are disrespecting him/her by yelling.

Be Careful In Using Humor. When you sit speaking with someone, they can tell if you are joking by your body language and facial expressions. In an email, not so much. What you think is funny might not be funny to someone else. When in doubt, leave it out.

Proofread Every Message. Spelling and grammar count. You must proofread your email carefully no matter how busy you are. DO NOT rely on spell-checker. Sometimes the word you want to use becomes a word you do not want to use.

Be Polite. Remember to use please and thank you when addressing people you don’t know well or at all, address them by their title and last name unless they have asked you to do otherwise. You don’t want to offend anyone

Most of these suggestions are common sense but once in awhile, we need a nudge. This is only to sharpen your skills.

Happy Spring. Remember to smell the roses.