While your preferred method of communicating with your friends may be via text, Facebook messenger or Snapchat, email is still the primary medium of communication used in the workplace. Here are some ways to send more professional emails.
- Have a clear subject line.
Many businesspeople receive hundreds of emails, so the subject line is crucial in getting their attention. Make sure your subject sums up your message in a few words, so the receiver immediately knows what it’s about. Don’t try to be clever and make an effort to use good grammar.
- Create a professional email address.
While there’s nothing wrong with using a cutesy email address in your personal life, you don’t want to correspond with your employer with personal or funny addresses such as “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Create an email specifically for your professional correspondence or switch over to it entirely. Try combinations of your first and last names. If you have a common name, you might need to use your middle initial or even your full middle name. The closer your address is to your real name, the more professional it will be.
- Forward messages from your new email account.
I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t have time to check another account!” The good news is that you don’t have to. Create a professional email address for business correspondence and then forward your new account emails to your primary personal one so you can be sure to see all of the emails that come to your new address.
- Use a professional salutation.
In formal situations, such as a job interview, use ether “Mr.” or “Ms.”(insert surname) if you are sending to an individual. “Dear” (insert surname) is another greeting you may use. Do not refer to someone by their first name nor use “Hi” or “Hello” (such as “Hi John”) if you are in the early stages of a relationship. It can be seen as forward and unprofessional.
- Proofread and proofread again.
There is no subtlety in email. An email isn’t like a conversation or several text messages, where meaning can be qualified or altered immediately by a follow-up line of conversation or with a few keystrokes.
- Respond within 24 to 48 hours.
Respond to professional email correspondence within 24 to 48 hours, even if it’s just to tell the recipient that you will need longer to respond. Anything longer than this time frame in a professional setting risks being taken as rudeness or a lack of interest. Being prompt in your email responses shows that you are professional, engaged and interested.
- Never use exclamation points.
A sentence that ends with an exclamation point risks being mistaken as over-eager or as shouting. Also, do not use exclamation points in the greeting of an email as it may come across as unprofessional and too casual.