I know, you must feel incredibly insulted right about now. You probably only clicked in the headline hoping to trash me in the comments. Because, you know, of course, you know how to use email for business.
We are far removed from the days of email being any sort of complex undertaking.
In fact, email providers have made email usability 1000% intuitive on almost every level.
But what about email etiquette? What about using email when appropriate versus non-appropriate? What about disallowing email to ruin your productivity?
Those points are hardly items that Google or Yahoo! can help you with.
So maybe, just maybe, we don’t use email properly for business as we first assumed.
Oh, the terror!!!
Don’t worry, you can fix all this.
Avoid Subject Line Catastrophes
Subject line catastrophe happens when you write either vague or inaccurate, subject lines.
Why would anyone write an inaccurate subject line? Usually, that’s diagnosed as a case of thoughtlessness. Maybe the email has a little to do with what you wrote in the subject line. You don’t care, but you just need to send the email onward and go back to business as usual. The problem is, if the email’s subject line was off-topic, the receiver may not find it imperative, or they may deem it unnecessary to open.
The more typical subject line crime is the vague subject line. This is when you write a general subject line over a matter. Often, it’s a matter that’s frequently repeated. For example, “Today’s Meeting.” Maybe that sounds like a good subject line because you just had a meeting. Everyone should know exactly what that subject line relates to inside the context of the email.
All well and good, until it isn’t. You probably have LOTS of meetings. Be specific and add dates. This helps searching for archives easier as well. It keeps things organized for all recipients.
What’s the point of the email? I know this sounds tragically comical to assert, but the truth is, you can write a lengthy email but without a call to action, nothing will ever get accomplished.
Is another meeting required? Should someone purchase a service? What’s the ultimate next step that should be extracted from the email?
Write exactly what actions should be taken as next steps in a clear and precise manner. Make sure each person on the email realizes what action they are responsible for, even if that action is no action at all. This trains everyone to always read emails thoroughly and understand what role they play in the subsequent steps.
Your weekend was great. Awesome. No reason to go into details.
No one needs to read a million hypotheticals related to a project.
Don’t waste space.
Always check your emails prior to sending and make sure that every word, each sentence, matters. If it doesn’t, remove it. Remember, reading is time and time is money.
Use A Signature
Have a professional signature (or two) and use it. You can create multiple signatures that can be applied to emails depending on where they are going. The important thing is to use a professional email.
Your contact info
Signatures add a flare of professionalism to the end of your message. They also make it easy for someone to reach out to you via another medium, such as phone.
There is no excuse for misspelling words in emails. Misspelled words indicate that the writer of the email is unprofessional. You can use third party services such as Grammarly to monitor your spelling and basic grammar. Or, just allow services such as Microsoft Outlook to keep you in check.
Either way, don’t send emails that have misspelled words in them.
Don’t Over Email…
Not every thought you have deserves email correspondence. Instant messengers, text, and yep, even old-fashioned phone calls are a great platform for stream of conscious creative sermons.
Email is one of the most modern, stable ways to communicate strategic thoughts and recaps. But email is often a wasted energy because too many people misuse it. Having a proper grasp on how to properly use email can make you a more effective company leader.