Oh, the dreaded email. Whether starting at a new company, or bringing on a new client into your existing company, that same middle school “don’t mess up because everyone is watching” mentality is always lingering. A flubbed email will be added to your permanent record and can come up at any time to haunt you. Usually in the form of break room teasing, but there are those rare occasions that may result in termination. Just follow these simple guidelines and you will be sending award winning emails in no time.
This isn’t your high school locker room
Our own Wizard of Words Publicist, JG2, has a great motto to live by – Say it and forget it, write it and regret it. Now, conversational etiquette will be held for a later date, but this statement could not be any more perfect when it comes to the pillars of email etiquette. If you hesitate after reading it back to yourself…delete it. If you don’t read it back to yourself, well, you’ve missed the most important step of sending an email. I often catch myself reading emails three or four times, then coming back to it 20 minutes later to read it again. Is it the end of the world if I forget a comma? No. But you don’t want to be known as the person that doesn’t pay attention to details. Overlooking past conversations and asking a client something that has already been discussed via email doesn’t leave a great impression.
For the love of Pete, don’t write your message in the subject line
Have you ever seen two guys go in for a totally cool handshake, and one guy ignores the fist bump? It’s kinda like that. Awkward. The subject should be quick and to the point, yet descriptive enough to search later on – for those of us who file our emails, not the animals that just delete with no remorse. There’s really nothing more to say. If you don’t get it, you probably also already sent your email without re-reading it.
Know the difference between Reply and Reply All
It’s such a minor difference on screen, yet can crumble empires with the hit of a send button. That one time you decide to crack a joke; It was meant for your pal, but instead went to the entire group. Now you have to figure out how to apologize with sincerity, but first, you need to climb up out of that chair you’ve just sunk into. Double check the “To:” field and make sure you’re only sending to your intended recipients. Also, please adhere to the rule above and save the heckling for a face to face conversation, rather than plastering it on the interwebs forever.
Totes keep ur web slang and emoticons to a minimum ;-P
We all love how easily LOL can end a text conversation that we don’t want to carry on. Or, just how much the :-/ emoticon really expresses our discontent for something. But even in a laid back office setting, these can communicate a very immature tone. And although you save yourself at least a couple seconds a week by using text abbreviations, just leave them out of your emails. Ur, U, IDK, gonna, b4 – it’s an endless list. If your email client marks it with a red line, it’s probably not a word. And if you don’t have your grammar check turned on – well, for one, you probably hit send without re-reading already – but you should do us all a favor and turn it on.
Who was this supposed to go to?
Ok, you just hit send. You re-read your email three times and there were no grammar issues. Great! But wait, it was supposed to go to Stephen, not Stephanie – damn you auto fill! However, because you didn’t write anything offensive, your email had great grammar and was composed in a professional manner, there is nothing to worry about. Just send a follow up email to Stephanie apologizing for the mix up, then re-send the email to the correct recipient and move on!