So much of the work we do today happens over email. With that in mind, it is important to perfect your email etiquette for professional success. When done right, email can be your best friend and make your life so much easier. There are times, however, when people fall into a few little traps when regarding emails, so it’s important to be aware of these to avoid getting yourself, and/or others, into trouble.
Here are some tips and tricks you can use to help you email like a pro.
Your Email Address Matters: Even if you work for yourself or you’re on the job hunt, make sure your email address is professional and accurately reflects you as a working woman. [email protected]______.com is the best option, but abbreviations work as well. Emails that are unprofessional could potentially turn off future, or current, employers.
Summarize It: The key is to be clear and concise. If you send a long rambling email, you are more likely to spend extra time explaining yourself rather than dedicating it to the task at hand. With that in mind if you have a lot to say, use bullet points. Bullet points are a great way to organize and prioritize your thoughts.
When to Reply-All: If your company sends out an email asking for feedback/info/etc., most of the time you do not want every single person you work with reading something that was not intended for them. Once you are 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. It is important to know when it is time to hit ‘reply’ versus ‘reply all.’
Paper Trail: Emails that you send are never truly private. Do not underestimate the power of the forward button. In addition to your email recipient possessing the ability to forward your note on to Human Resources, it is critical to remember that your work emails are not private. The key word being ‘work emails’ not personal emails. Keep in mind, that every email you send creates a paper trail.
Tone it Down: It’s not what you say but how you say it. Your tone can be easily misconstrued, misinterpreted and misunderstood via email, so make sure that your emails are clear, friendly, and professional.
Set Up a Signature: When you are scheduling a call, a meeting, or just making a new contact, your email signature is vital. Your email signature provides the necessary information others need to ensure easy contact. Make sure to set up your email signature on your phone as well.
Talk it Out: Email should never be used as an outlet to avoid face-to-face conversations. There will come a time in your professional career when face-to-face interaction is necessary to settle a situation rather than relying on technology. Bottom-line, some things are best left to be discussed in person. If the conversation is a difficult one, it is always better to talk it out.
Graphic Created by Brianna Knopf