If you’re like most business professionals, the bulk of your professional communication is done through e-mail. E-mail is great for saving time and getting your thoughts and conversations down in writing; unfortunately, many people use e-mail practices that make their communication seem unprofessional and sloppy.
Because people use e-mail to communicate in their personal life as well, they often fall into bad habits that may be acceptable in casual communication, but can be incredibly detrimental in a professional setting. Check out the following techniques to create an effective business e-mail that portrays you as the confident, capable professional you are:
Include a Greeting and Closing: You would never just walk into a person’s office and start talking business without saying, “Hi” first—this same etiquette applies to e-mail.
Always make the first line of your e-mail a basic greeting such as “To Whom It May Concern,” or “Good morning.” Jumping directly into your message comes across as abrupt and can be construed as rude or overly casual. Likewise, always end with a proper closing and your name (e.g., Sincerely, Jayne Latz).
Don’t Abuse the Subject Line: Most people are inundated with a flood of e-mail on a daily basis. A strong, informative subject line allows your message to stand out, and helps your recipient easily see what your e-mail is about. Don’t use a generic subject such as “Hello” or “Information” or even worse, leave it blank altogether. Using a specific and meaningful subject will help both you and the recipient better categorize and organize the e-mail.
Style and Grammar Count: You would never neglect proper grammar or punctuation in a business letter, yet people often feel it is okay when writing an e-mail. Always run a spell check and double check your writing. Never use shortened forms of words or acronyms (e.g., lol, u instead of “you,” etc.) or write in all capital letters—using all caps is the electronic version of shouting!
Want to learn more? Give me a call at 212-308-7725 or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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