One cannot think about spending a single day at work and not having to interact through emails. Writing perfect professional emails that get you the response you need is an art, with some solid logic behind it. It takes years of practice to get the content and tone of your email precise and professional. Badly worded emails could be straightaway sent to the trash without a second thought. We have put together some tips from our experience that you can keep in mind while writing professional emails so that you do not come across as careless or informal.
1. Improper/Informal Salutation
Make sure that you include proper salutations like ‘Mr.’ or ‘Dr.’ and address the person using his last name. Being on first name basis is considered informal. Also, choose your greetings with care. ‘Hi Dr. Bing’, or ‘Hey’ or ‘Hello’ are considered casual; you should use ‘Dear’ instead. However, depending on how informal your work place is, Hi’s and Hello’s usually work. If you have a friendly HR person around, you could double-check with him/ her.
2. Tone of email
The tone of your email is very important. It is essential not to just translate your thoughts into words, as it might look informal. You have to phrase every thought into a polite and professional sentence. Even if you are writing to file a complaint or express grievances and are very angry, the tone has to remain polite and professional. Never send an email when you are upset, draft it and come back to it after you have calmed down.
3. ‘SMS’ Language
If ‘u rite lyk ths’, then please don’t! We are not sure how writing like that even became a trend, probably at the dawn of the age of cell phones. Anyhow, it is annoying, unprofessional and also, terribly wrong English! Last thing you want is to invoke the wrath of a Grammar Nazi, who also happens to be your boss. You should also be careful to avoid informal acronyms like BTW (by the way), IMHO (in my honest opinion), FYI (for your information), etc. Keep in mind that some acronyms like ASAP (as soon as possible) and PFA (please find attached) are generally accepted in professional emails, but it never hurts to write the full phrase for your reader’s benefit.
Once you have completed writing the mail, read it once or run a spell check to make sure there are no typos. It is easy to make mistakes when you are in a hurry, so you should take some time out and review the mail before sending it. Typos indicate carelessness and negligence and should definitely be avoided at all costs. Also, typos, when spelt really wrong, can get really embarrassing! You know the kind we are hinting at.
5. Choice of font/format
Make sure the font and size of text is uniform throughout, especially if you are pasting text from different sources. Avoid colorful text and other designs unless required. Remove any unnecessary wallpapers or background images. In addition, choose a simple san serif font like Arial or Helvetica. Remember that when the person your email is addressed to, receives your email, he shouldn’t feel like a jack in the box just jumped out at him!
What according to you are some errors that must be avoided at all costs when it comes to drafting a clear and effective professional email? We would love to hear from you 🙂
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