Best Practices That You Should Use in Formal E-mails
Most of us are glued to our e-mail, but many do not recognize the importance of sending out the right message. Because of the huge volume of mail we read and write on daily basis, we are highly prone to making errors that will either embarrass us or deliver the wrong message.
Failing to write a formal e-mail when it is necessary for the communication can have serious consequences for you as a professional. Jerry Heather, the HR manager, speaks about the severity of the situation:
‘’People spend hours writing e-mails during the work week, and I cannot begin to explain how many mistakes happen because of their negligence. This increases the risk of sending the message to the wrong person, or sending a wrong message to the right person, all of which can ruin my client communication without any room for fixing it. People must start taking e-mails more seriously.’’
If you want to avoid such troubles, it is time to learn more about the formal e-mail writing etiquette:
1. Write a Direct and Clear Subject Line
Never, never forget to add a subject line to a formal e-mail. This is the first thing the recipient will see, so make sure it is as direct and clear as possible.
Your subject line should share the main goal of the e-mail in only few words.
2. Use a Professional Address
If you want to be seen as a professional, use a professional e-mail when sending your messages. Your personal email account is for personal communication, not business communication.
Even if you are self-employed, create a professional e-mail address that conveys your name.
3. Always Introduce Yourself
Do not think that if you included your name in your e-mail, the recipient will know who you are. Even if they do, always introduce yourself at the beginning of the first e-mail. If you have met the client before and your e-mail refers to something in the past, include a reminder of this.
You don’t need to provide an extensive biography. All you need is a brief introduction of who you are and why you are reaching out.
4. Stray from Private Matters
A formal e-mail cannot discuss private matters. When sending formal e-mails, discuss only the public matters, since most of these e-mails will end up being passed around the company.
5. Respond as Soon as Possible
If you are a professional who gets e-mails often, make sure to check your inbox several times during the day. Even if you are not, always respond in a timely fashion when an important e-mail arrives. The acceptable time ranges up to 48 hours since you received the message.
6. Do Not Send One-Liners
E-mails like ‘’Oh, okay’’ and ‘’Thank you’’ will not be beneficial for your formal conversation at all. If you do not request or anticipate a response to your e-mail, you can put the quote ‘’No reply necessary’’ before the e-mail content.
7. Refrain from Sharing Confidential Information in E-mail
Keep your e-mail clean and do not share sensitive information in a formal e-mail. In the case that your e-mail reaches the wrong person, you may even be facing legal repercussions.
8. Avoid Jargon, Emoticons and Slang
Formal language does not allow for inappropriate words and phrases. Avoid jargon and slang at all times, and remove those emoticons you send in your personal e-mails.
Your formal e-mail is a reflection of your professionalism and reputation. If you send out a disorganized, badly written, filled with mistakes message, the recipient will not receive this well. Try to use these strategies in writing professional e-mails.