With the indispensable nature of emails, there is a growing need to write them better. When we say better, we don’t just mean better language. We are referring to better email etiquette. Here’s some non-negotiable email etiquette we are offering, to ensure your emails are most effective.

  1. We understand the urge to get stuff done. But marking every email as urgent in the subject line may not be the best way to go about it. Imagine receiving 30 emails a day, all urgent. How would you prioritize then? Only tasks that need attention on the same business day achieve the urgent status.
  2. Speaking of subject lines, write them as elevator pitches to your full-fledged conversations. 70% of professionals report ignoring emails whose subject lines are vague, or worse – which had no subject line! Thus, make them crisp and actionable. Instead of saying “Meeting for client pitch preparation,” say “Meeting on 15th Nov to finalize pitch for XYZ Corporation.” Or if something needs to be approved, say “Marketing report due tomorrow – need your approval by 3 PM today.
  3. As far as possible, keep the body of your email under 100 words. Anything more is an overload of information and needs to go as an attachment. Understand your objective clearly before you start writing – whether it is to get information, request a meeting, share numbers/ achievements, or just say thank you. And then just get to the nugget after greeting your recipients.
  4. Is there any action that you’d like the recipient to take? State that as specifically as possible. Instead of saying “Looking to hear more of what you think about this proposal,” try “I’d like your feedback on the financial estimates, as well as the proposed deadlines, by Monday.”
  5. Use of texting lingo is a big no in all work emails. As automatic it may feel to type ‘u’ for ‘you’, ‘pls’ for ‘please’ or ‘thx’ for ‘thanks’, it comes across as unprofessional or even lax.
  6. If you wish to express frustration or disappointment, we suggest sitting on the email for a couple of hours before hitting the send button. Come back to it, express yourself with objectivity and without blame. “I feel disappointed that we couldn’t meet our targets this month. I am keen on addressing this as we move forward” is more personable, as opposed to “I can’t believe we didn’t deliver on our targets! I am so disappointed with the team.”

With emails replacing in-person conversations in the world of work, they have come to assume a lot of the social etiquette we comply with in our lives. Hence, just taking 60 seconds to survey our emails before sending them, can go a long way in ensuring the general health of our professional relationships. What other email practices do you swear by?

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