Whether you like it or not, if you work in an office (or anywhere near a computer), you will spend a good chunk of your day dealing with emails. According to some sources, it might be even a third of your entire workday. With such a significant amount of time dedicated to emails, learning to write them well is a crucial skill.
The average office worker receives a staggering number of emails every day. Of those, only about a third get opened. If you want the ones you send to be among those opened, you need to cultivate an image as a knowledgeable email-writer. Committing to writing shorter, clearer, and simpler emails is the key to excellent virtual communication. And so, we have compiled a list of tips for writing better business emails that you can put to use today.
1. Consolidate and eliminate
Instead of emailing someone for every problem and/or idea that comes across your table, consolidate your issues into one master email that you can send at the end of the day. You can keep a notepad (or create a draft) and keep adding to it throughout the day. At the end of the day, take another look at whatever you’ve listed and decide whether you need to delete or add anything. Creating a numbered list is an excellent way of making your issues stand out and highlighting the most important ones.
Sending one concise email instead of several with little content will help your recipient manage their inbox while improving your image as a sender of thought-out emails. Whenever possible, avoid email altogether – talking to someone in person will be a lot more effective.
2. Keep it short and sweet
There is no overestimating the importance of keeping your emails short. Even if you took note of tip #1, there is no reason to waste more words than absolutely necessary. Instead of rambling on, use lists or bullet points to highlight the important parts. Getting straight to the point is certainly a trait excellent emailers share.
However, just because you’re trying to keep your words to a minimum, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make your recipient happy to read what you’ve sent. Starting off with a personal(ised) greeting is an excellent way to show respect and build your professional relationships.
3. Learn the rules for your field
As with all writing, the rules for emails change over time and across different fields. If you work in banking, for example, you’re expected to write a lot more formal emails than in the burgeoning digital-creative fields. Working for startups, you’re expected to hit a very different tone in your emails than in old professions. Especially if you’re writing to someone outside of your own company, be sure you know what tone you’re expected to hit with your emails.
In the grander scheme of things, emails are becoming less formal by the year. To avoid sounding stuffy and overly formal, it might be a good idea to try a mix of more and less formal greetings and send-offs.
4. Use a spell-checker
There really is no excuse for not using a spell-checker in this day and age. You can install a widget that can proofread your emails while you type them, limiting the faux-pas of typos and generally bad grammar. Grammarly is one of the best ones out there right now, but you’re welcome to try another one that works for you.
There really is nothing quite as bad for your professional reputation as sending emails riddled with spelling mistakes. So just do yourself a favour and take care of that problem right now.
5. Personalise your emails
Sadly, email is one of the most impersonal communication tools in our possession right now. If you want yours to stand out, get rid of all of those templates you might have saved somewhere. While you can use a similar layout for your business emails, true success lies in personalising your writing.
Due to the overwhelming number of emails sent and received every day, the impersonality is one of the biggest differences between emails and other written communication. So, if you want yours to stand out and be remembered, don’t be afraid to show your personality. Using a conversational tone, keeping it polite, and personalising your message to your recipient will help your writing stand out and get replied.
6. Recap and revise
Another great way to ensure your main message is heard is to say it twice. Before your closing statements, reiterate the main idea and tell the recipient what action you await from them. Then add your final personalised words. And then proofread your email. Even with your spell-checker, you will need to make sure you’ve added everything important, see if you can delete anything unimportant, and generally make sure your wording is up to scratch.
Conclusion – Keep your emails concise and personalised for better results
Since emails are such a common method for business communication, you will need to take yours to the next level for them to stand out. Keep your writing short, personalise your messages, and proofread your writing to make sure your emails are read and replied.