Let’s talk about e-mail.
We’re always on it for work; constantly checking for incoming messages and quickly drafting responses.
E-mail is a wonderful thing. It allows us to connect and get information in a flash, making it easier to get work done. Because of this, most of us can’t live without it.
With so many messages flying around between people and devices, it’s easy to send a note with typos, e-mail the wrong person, or forget to include pleasantries, i.e. Hi Lindsay, Best Regards, Lindsay.
But consistently making mistakes can make you look unprofessional and chip away at your credibility. What client or colleague is going to take you seriously if every other message you send is riddled with errors? Poorly written e-mails can make people think you’re too busy to slow down and thoughtfully respond to them, which isn’t good for business.
I’m guilty of this. I’ve sent many e-mails with typos, that were addressed to the wrong person, or that didn’t include a salutation or signature. It happens, but it’s important not to make it a habit.
If you want people to take you seriously, you have to be thoughtful every time you respond to someone or send them a request. Here’s a quick checklist for writing a professional e-mail.
- When you first reach out or respond to someone, always include a salutation and call the recipient by their preferred name.
- Make sure you address what they are asking and also make your own inquires clear.
- Don’t always jump right into business, ask the recipient how they are or wish them well.
- If you say you’re attaching a document, don’t forget the attachment. When you type the word ‘attached’ in your e-mail, take that as your cue to insert your document.
- Always re-read your message, checking for clarity, grammar, spelling and punctuation.
- Don’t select your recipients until your e-mail is written so you don’t risk sending it before you’re ready. Then when you add them, double check to make sure you’re including the right people.
- Always sign your name at the end, don’t let your signature or e-mail address identify you.
What are some other components of a professional e-mail?