Some of us are lucky enough to remember a time when communication consisted of picking up the phone, writing a letter, and the old classic – stopping by a friends’ house to visit unannounced. Today’s reality is quite different. When was the last time you wrote a letter? Chances are, it’s been awhile. On the other hand, when was the last time you wrote an email? You’ve probably sent a few professional emails already today if you are employed or are in a business.
In 2015, according to an email statistics report put forth by the Radicati Group Inc., a whopping 205 billion emails were sent…every day. Emailing is so prevalent in today’s business world, yet it’s still a relatively new form of communication. The question is, how do we harness the power of email to build our credibility, brand ourselves as professionals, and improve our business?
Know Your Audience
Take a minute to consider who you’re writing to. Focus your message on what’s in it for them, not you. Craft your email around the benefits that your receiver cares about. Also, be aware that others may read your message too. Don’t forget to cater to your secondary audience as well.
Check Your Emotion
We’ve all received them: the email that just makes you steam. Before hammering off a heated response that you’ll undoubtedly regret, walk away for a minute and take a breath. One of the great benefits of using emailing in business negotiations is that you have time to frame your responses in a manner that will benefit you.
Professionalism is Key
It’s hard not to judge someone who’s writing to you from their account entitled cutegirl13 or rocknroll69… Set up a professional email account using your own name. Handle all of your business communication through this account. Remember that an email is not a text message. The General rule of thumb is no emoji and no lol’s. I know, how boring. But it’s necessary if you want to be perceived as a professional in your field.
Use Formatting to Your Advantage
Think about the most professional email you’ve ever received. Was it one giant, hard to read paragraph, or was it nicely spaced and perhaps divided into bullet points or a numbered list? Keep in mind that the point of writing your email is to get your point across. Using proper formatting increases both readability, and the likelihood of you connecting to your readers in a meaningful way. (Please keep your message articulate. Writing long emails even with proper formatting might not be read. In this day and age, we get a lot of emails and Lengthy emails are tagged for a read later on)
An email riddled with grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes, sends the wrong message. Not taking the time to proofread shows a lack of respect for your audience. Be professional! Proofread every email. If you struggle with it, ask a friend who is detail oriented to help, or at the very least, use your computer’s spell and grammar check programs.
Analyze Your Message
Last but not least, analyze your email before clicking ‘send’. Does your message achieve it’s intended goal? Always remember, every email you send forms a written record. You don’t know who or how many people will read what you have written. Follow the Globe and Mail Rule: Write every email as if it were to be published on the front page of the New York Times.