Because so much of what we do at work (and in our personal lives, too) is done over email, perfecting your email etiquette is crucial for success at the office. If you do it right, email can be your new best friend (and can make life SO much easier). However, there are a few little traps that people fall into every now and then regarding office emails, so it’s important to be aware of these and do everything you can to use email to your advantage—and not let it get you into trouble.
Take a look at the tips and tricks below and in no time you’ll be emailing like a pro…
Your Email Address Matters. If you work for a company that provides you with an email address, you don’t have to worry about this one. But if you work for yourself, are currently on the job hunt, or sometimes use your personal email for work matters, make sure that your email address is professional and accurately reflects who you are as a working woman. YourName@_____.com is the best option, but abbreviations work as well. Just make sure you’re not sending out your resume from an address like cutiepie4ever@________.com (or something much, much worse). It’s not the most professional, and could potentially turn off a future (or current) employer.
Summarize It. Being clear and concise in email is key. If you send off a long, rambling email, you’re more likely to go through a lot of back and forth to settle something that could have been figured out very quickly. I’m a big fan of bullet points, so when I have a lot to get across in an email, I’ll type out a bulleted list with all of my questions or requests, and send that off.
When to Reply-All. Reply-all can be a very, very dangerous decision. For example, if your company sends out an email to every single employee asking for feedback/info/etc., most of the time you won’t want every single person you work with reading something not intended for them. Also, (although I don’t recommend ever doing this), if you’re on an email chain and respond to someone with a not-so-nice comment about someone else on the chain, hitting reply-all can get you into hot water. I always triple check the recipients on any email that I reply-all to, just to make sure that everyone on the email needs to hear what I have to say.
Paper Trail. Remember, the emails that you send at work aren’t ever truly private. Not only does the person on the other end have the ability to forward your note on to HR, but the people at the top of your company usually have the ability to peek through your inbox. If you wouldn’t want the CEO of your company to read what you’re writing, please press delete. Remember—every single email that you send creates a paper trail that can potentially be used for or against you.
Tone It Down. The tone that you intend to come across may not always be the one that the person on the other end of your email exchange receives. Like I said in my last post, most of the time it’s not what you say, but how you say it that really matters. Your tone (whether it’s sarcasm, urgency or irritation) can be easily misconstrued, misinterpreted or misunderstood via email, so make sure that your emails are clear, friendly, and professional. Also, you never want to send an email when you’re feeling angry or emotional. An email lasts forever nowadays, so give yourself a little time to cool down and strategize before responding
Set Up a Signature. You’ll want to make sure that your e-mail signature contains all of your contact info. That way, when you’re scheduling a call, a meeting, or just making a new contact, they will be able to get in touch with you easily. Make sure to set up your email signature on your phone, too.
Talk it Out. Sometimes people use email as a way of avoiding face-to-face conversations. There are plenty of things that are perfectly acceptable (and sometimes necessary) to type out and send, but some things should be discussed in person. If it’s a difficult conversation, it’s always better to try to talk it out. That way there’s less room for miscommunication, and you’re more likely to resolve the situation quickly.
What are your tips and tricks for e-mailing like a pro? Share them in the comments!