With 89 billion business emails sent every day, it is easy for a lot of them to get lost in the shuffle. But a big reason a lot of those get lost in the shuffle is probably your fault. There are certain email rules you have got to follow in order to make sure your messages are read and replied to. Email is really the key to building a great business relationship. Here are some email sins you may be committing on a daily basis.
1. Carelessly hitting the reply all button
This is possibly 1 of the worst things you can do. Whenever something goes out to a team, think really carefully about whether you want to respond to EVERYONE YOU WORK WITH. Jobs have been lost with reply alls. If you only need to respond to 1 party, make sure that’s what you’re doing. Below is what happens when you hit reply all.
2. Watch your language
Just like you need to watch your body language in a professional setting, you need to be extremely careful on how you communicate in an email, especially if you are attempting to get a job or internship or just land a client. Don’t constantly say “I just…” or “I’m sorry.” Be clear and concise. Remember, even if you are trying to be funny it doesn’t come across that way on email. You need to use professional language as well. Use the proper capitalization and do not use words like “lol,” “thx,” and “thru.”
3. The subject line conundrum
Oh subject lines. They are the death of some of us. How do you capture someone’s attention without lying? This is the thing that makes or breaks someone opening your email and you have fewer characters than in 1 Tweet to do it. A typical inbox reveals about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, but on mobile it’s only 25 to 30 characters, says Amanda Augustine, career expert at professional job-matching service TheLadders. In an awesome post by email expert Alex Cavoulacos called the “23 Unwritten Rules of Email” she says your subject line should always be descriptive. “‘Intro’ is not descriptive enough. “Intro: Alex (The Muse) // Jennifer (XYZ Co)” is better.” When you are job hunting, you don’t need “hello” or “thanks” but Augustine does recommend including any acronyms you have that are pertinent to the job. For example, you might add MBA, CPA or Ph.D. after your name, if it is relevant to the job. If someone referred you then absolutely include his or her name in the subject.
4. Get to the point fast
This is not the time to tell the story of your life. You want to get to the purpose of your email by the second line. No flowery language.
5. Don’t forward the same email twice
If someone isn’t responding to your query don’t just email him or her the same thing. There is clearly a reason they are not responding so don’t just send them the exact same message. Email them with a deadline if you are a client and if you are a job applicant or an intern, be patient.
6. Do not BCC
It’s sneaky and a little creepy. Just don’t do it.
7. Separate your points
A giant and super long paragraph can be super overwhelming when you are trying to get through emails. Put each point you want to make on a separate line.
8. Ask before sending an attachment
Attachments take up a lot of bandwidth and data so be sure to ask the person you are sending it to if it is okay with them to do so. The recipient will greatly appreciate it if you simply ask first.
9. Sending it at the wrong time
Yes we live in a world of 24/7 connectivity, but do remember that some people actually like to take weekends and nights for themselves. Be aware of that and respect it. If it can wait until morning then do so.
10. Do send updates on a big project
Even if not that much progress is being made, you need to keep your manager or clients informed about what is going on or they will worry. Just a quick little update to reassure all parties involved.
This piece was authored by Meredith Lepore and is reprinted by permission.
Image credit: CC by Ian Lamont