While many of us fire off twenty emails or more a day, there are some simple dos and don’ts to consider before hitting that send button.
Think about the last 24 hours – how many emails (work and personal) did you send?
Sure, there are numerous factors at play here, such as your line of work, what else you had on during the day, data connectivity etc, but even at a time when instant messaging, socials and work tools like Slack have risen in use, email remains a tool few of us can live without.
In fact, even in the face of widespread messaging, Statista predicts that the number of sent and received emails will continue to grow, with an estimated 376.4 million to be sent by 2025, up from 269 million in 2017. Never write off the email!
This means, particularly in a professional context, it’s important to know the basic etiquette of email writing to ensure you stay on your best email game.
So, here are some of the more important dos and don’ts to think about each time you write an email.
Writing Emails: The Dos
A good subject line is everything
Given how many emails we receive each day, and how many we send straight to the trash, getting the subject line right is critical. The clearer the subject line is and more often than not, the shorter or punchier, the more likely it will be opened.
And drop jargon or clichés in the subject line, such as ‘important information’ or ‘open immediately’ as these have long been co-opted by the spam brigade and, depending on their spam settings, could see your email go straight to the recipient’s trash or spam folder.
“Haiiiii”…is not a professional greeting/salutation
This may seem obvious, but business emails are exactly that – business documents – and the greeting should be similarly business-like.
This doesn’t mean it needs to be sterile – a simple ‘hello XYZ’ is fine, a ‘hi’ less so. And yes, use their name, especially if this is an ongoing business relationship. Of course, over time and with long-term colleagues, this will loosen up a little as you each permit the other to become a little more familiar.
But even so, remember, this is still a work or professional relationship and it should stay that way.
Be direct, clear and concise
With so many of us time-poor across our lives, but particularly at work, the more direct (without being rude), clear and concise your email is, the better.
Use a strong call to action so that the recipient knows exactly what you need of them, which should also mean the email doesn’t need to be too long. Get to the point in a clear and professional way, and they will be more likely to respond in similar fashion.
Proofread and wait before you hit send
Always, always, awlays (see what we did there?) proofread – both for basic grammar and punctuation but also for content – before sending the email. And, unless it is super urgent, step away from the email for a moment (or longer if you can afford the time) and do another read with fresh eyes.
You’ll be surprised what you find to fix up or polish by holding fire and giving it another look over before sending.
Writing Emails: The Don’ts
Templates are a no-no
While it’s tempting to use a template, and, in some jobs, even unavoidable (e.g. in customer service roles to ensure consistent and correct information/messaging goes out every time), avoid templates in general professional business communications.
Write original copy so that the recipient knows you have invested the time and effort to reach and convey a personal message to them.
Humour isn’t that funny
Context, facial expressions and vocal tone are key to making humour work – these are all effectively missing in an email, so trying to use humour can backfire terribly.
Drop the emoticons and excessive punctuation
While emoticons are virtually part of the vernacular, at least when it comes to text messaging and socials, avoid them in emails. Similarly, USING UPPER CASE or excessive punctuation (exclamation marks can sometimes be the worst to read!!!!) gets in the way of clear messaging and is annoying rather than attracting attention.
This goes back to one of the ‘dos’ – clear, concise, short – without too much dressing.
Gorilla Jobs Can Help You
We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!