When you send an email to someone for the first time, it becomes the first impression you make.
No pressure – but the way you write e-mails is your professional calling card. The last thing you want to do is to send something sloppy to a professional you admire, because they will assume that you are careless in all aspects of work.
Having said that, have no fear: we’ve made a list of 6 guidelines to follow when writing professional emails to make sure that you get it right every time.
1. Stop Using Filler Words
Bad: When I began writing this email, that is, in the morning after I fed my cat, I was feeling very inspired.
Good: I felt inspired when I started writing this email.
If a word doesn’t make your sentence stronger, cut it. Fillers words are a waste of time for you to write and the email’s receiver to read. They also give the impression that you’re not a very good writer, leading the reader to believe you’re not a strong communicator. Unless a word truly improves the sentence it’s in, get rid of it!
2. Keep it Short
Bad: The morning report, otherwise known as the guidelines for life, was done at 11:54 AM with person A and B involved, while person C was absent due to food poisoning.
Good: The morning report was completed by person A and B. Person C was absent.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your emails short and sweet. Most people are not willing to read long emails because they simply don’t have the time. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure that your email makes its point within three small paragraphs or less. Anything beyond that and you’re already testing your reader’s patience.
3. Use Closed-Ended Questions
Bad: How do you feel about my product?
Good: Does my product meet your needs?
Open-ended questions require way more thought and time to answer than closed-ended questions, because there are only two possible answers to the latter: either yes or no! Keeping your questions short, sweet, and to the point is especially key if you need an immediate answer from your reader.
4. Focus on the Facts
Bad: I don’t understand why this had to happen. How many times did I tell my coworkers this would happen? Why did my Friday shift need to be changed?
Good: My shift on Friday was changed. Is it permanent?
More often than not, people tend to say way more than they need to in an email. If you are sending a message to a complete stranger, chances are they don’t care about anything more than the facts, so stick to that. Elaborating too much will only make your email harder to read and thus less appealing to your receiver.
5. Always Use Simple Terms
Bad: She has a crazy contagious and sparklingly effervescent personality.
Good: She has a bright personality.
An email is not the place to use technical references, dense descriptions, or academic lingo. Write in the same conversational tone that you use to talk to other professionals. It makes you more approachable and much easier to respond to
Ready to write a rockstar email? Now you can! Keep using these 6 tips and you’ll be getting the kind of responses you want in no time at all.