Tips & Tricks
It’s an undeniable fact that email is a huge part of the modern work environment. But how often has something landed in your inbox that has rubbed you up the wrong way? Avoid being that sender with our top 5 tips for good email practise…
1. Include a descriptive subject line
While it might be tempting to hook in your reader with a mysterious description, in reality, it’s going to be annoying for someone whose inbox is groaning and in need of prioritisation.
Being clear about the topic (and a deadline if relevant) in the subject line means your email stands a better chance of being read and dealt with in time.
2. Include an email signature
A good signature block gives your recipient extra context as to who you are, which is especially important when they’re not a well-known contact. Generally speaking, you should always at least include your name, job title and business at the bottom of every email.
It’s also important to ensure your recipients have more options than just hitting ‘reply’. If the subject you’re discussing is getting complex, or something time-sensitive comes up, it’s ideal to give them some extra contact details to reach you. Including your phone number is a good way to do this – and adding some social media details gives a great way to stay in touch less formally too.
3. Use spell check/proof carefully
At the end of the day, email is a written medium – so it’s never going to look great if a badly-written message lands in someone’s inbox!
Spell check is an essential to make sure you haven’t made any obvious errors – but you should be careful about leaving it as your last line of defence. It’s easy to mess up by typing the wrong word that happens to be spelt correctly – and a spell check can’t be relied upon to catch that!
There are some interesting services out there like Grammarly and Ginger that can put your work through its paces, and help you pick up some of the things that a spell checker can’t. But even then, nothing beats a good old-fashioned human proof-read! If you’re not the strongest proof-reader but you’re sending out something super important, consider making your most grammar-savvy colleague a nice cup of coffee and asking them for a favour…
4. Think twice before hitting ‘reply all’
One of the cardinal sins of email etiquette is not knowing when something should be a group conversation. While it’s great to keep colleagues in the loop, almost everyone has a horror story about being caught in the wrong ‘reply all’.
One of the best ways to avoid this mistake is to consciously think about who is in your conversation every time you go to hit ‘reply’ or ‘reply all’. If your recipients were sat in a room with you, would you have announced the contents of your email to all of them, or taken one person aside? Hopefully visualising the recipient(s) will help you to pause and double check that you’re about to hit the right button…
5. Be cautious with humour
Very few people are blessed with the talent of being able to make anyone laugh, and being able to make anyone laugh in writing is much harder.
On the whole, unless you know your recipient well and have a pretty great understanding of their sense of humour, it’s best to avoid trying to be funny in emails.
When in doubt, leave it out…
BONUS TIP: Don’t email angry!
We’ve all been tempted to fire off an email in anger – especially when bad news has arrived in the form of an email itself.
However, there’s so many reasons why this isn’t a good plan – not only is it much harder to have a constructive conversation when you’re not able to properly judge the tone of the other person speaking, it’s also not a great idea to leave a written trail of things you’ve said in the heat of the moment.
One of the best tips we’ve heard is to write the email in a word processor instead (no chance of accidentally sending it that way) and sit on it for 24hrs, if possible. That way, if you still feel like it really should be sent after you’ve had time to reflect on it, you can feel much more assured in your decision.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips, and that they make sure you’re one of the best things in somebody’s inbox (with the notable exception of Office Needs offers, of course!) If you’ve got your own thoughts on what you like to see in email communication, why not let us know?
Have a great week!
Join us next week for Part 4 of Tips and Tricks!
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