Office Email : 10 Simple Ways to Create An Edge
What better a mode of communication than the emails. Of late, I have become an absolute fan of these emails! Of course for the informal conversations we have our FB, Gmail, Skype and chat engines which are great, but when it comes to email, there is a certain care we have to take while we draft or send one. Since it is mostly used for official purposes, the importance of an email amplifies accordingly.
Presenting our top 10 Do’s and Don’ts in a professional email!
1) THE BASICS
Well I am sure all of you know the basics and there are some real good websites which talk about them – http://www.emailreplies.com/. I shall try and refrain being a repetition and also from talking the usual stuff which you all know. But then just to recapitulate, the basics as usual are – Using concise and precise statements, writing mails to the point without any unnecessary elaborations, using the proper fonts, avoiding the use of slangs and acronyms – although they sound cool, they really work against you, esp in a professional set up. These are some real good pointers, but again knowing that people have talked about it, I will try and avoid repetitions as much as possible.
Apart from these, avoid using colors which are too bright and hit the eye like RED/YELLOW, Avoid something that makes reading tough, the usual choice as always is pure black – simple and clean. Avoid the use of bold letters, CAPITAL LETTERS unless they form a heading or point something very important. If you don’t do that, it is equivalent to someone shouting. Now I shall stop this before I get to boring.
2) THE PURPOSE OF THE LETTER
Well, whether you are writing a letter or talking to a person or having a conversation, the basics remain very much the same, very clearly know what you are trying to achieve through the conversation, While you are talking to someone, you have ample opportunity to explain yourself and create a strong impact, but when it comes to an email, the opportunity is limited and you need to let your words do the talking for you. You have to make the best of the opportunity to create a lasting impact.
3) WHAT IS YOUR ORIGINALITY IN THE MAIL?
I know that most of the times when you write a professional mail, the idea is to send an update or talk about something that happened at work. It is more of reporting what you have done to another person. Or is it? Is it just reporting something or is there something more to it? Or is there something more you can add to it? Is there any signature style you can develop?
I don’t mean having an artistic sign or an image uploaded at the bottom or even a quote, I am talking about something you, something original cos let us face it, everyone gets bored of reading the same old form of things. It is like looking at a legal document, no offense to the lawyers though, they make a great job at it but I always find myself lost in the document.
4) VALUE ADDITION
Well everyone writes an email or a letter, everyone sends an update. What is the value add you are creating when you send a mail? I do understand that the first response is that “There is no way I can create a value add in a professional mail, people don’t expect that”. Well people don’t usually expect that and that is exactly why so few people do it. Think about what value add you can create.
If you are writing to a company for a job, can you write something about the company which you are interested in, some specifics which shows that you have spent that time to make your research? If you are writing to a manager, is there something you can add which you know about him and you think can add value to him? Is there that something which can bring a smile on someone’s face? If the answer is yes, then you should do it!
5) BEING INFORMAL
I know that we are talking about a professional mail. Let us picture this, if I am someone in an office who has read a hundred mails which are to the point and concise and don’t have much different but send an update or an info, there is no way I would spend more time on a generic mail. If you would need my attention, it has to be something about me or something about which I am interested. If you are writing about the same old regular stuff, there is no way I will look forward to this mail. Be a little informal, be yourself, strike a friendship. Of course what has to be conveyed has to be conveyed, but that doesn’t mean that you have to use the same old words to do that.
6) BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
Whether you are talking to someone or writing to someone, something you are either consciously or unconsciously trying to do is build a relationship, build an idea and drive a conversation. We talked about a conversation which is easier cos there is two sides to it and you will have an opportunity to understand their tone, voice, facial expressions and respond accordingly. But for an email, it does take something more. Show that you care, how about asking them how they are doing, how about asking them about the game that happened, just add a PS and say that you enjoyed the game and hope they had an opportunity to do so. Send that friendly invite and see how they react? Let us face it, isn’t it easier to write a mail to a friend than writing to someone in a place of authority?
7) SUBTLE HUMOR
Well, who doesn’t like a good laugh, or a smile. We already talked about bringing a smile on someone’s face and it is not just a noble thing to do, it has a great practical utility. I would have a greater tolerance for someone who can make me smile or atleast a greater proclivity and a larger margin of error. I would also be a little less critical than usual. Not that I am being partial, but I am just being a little human, I am giving that extra margin. Don’t you think it would be amazing to have that additional bit?
8) WHAT THE OTHER PERSON MIGHT BE THINKING
This might be a bit of a stretch and being in someone else’s shoes is one of the toughest things in the world to do. But try it anyway, try and understand what might be going on at their end, show it in your mail Say that you might be busy but I wanted to run something by you, or I wanted to share an exciting update. Show that you have made an effort to understand them and that is going to take you to a completely new level for sure.
9) WHAT IS IN IT FOR THEM?
The mail, the update is not all about you, even if it is – you can’t show it that way. What is the incentive for the other person in reading this mail? Well, lead with that, talk about what the other person gets from the mail and then talk about what you want out of it. Talk about what the update or the project means to him and then talk about why you would be interested to work on it. Talk about the difference that the update is going to make on him and then talk about what you need. No person is going to complain about a mail which talks about something good which can happen to him
10) GOOD WILL HUNTING!
There is a lot you can accomplish by searching for the good will and the humanity of the person. Of course the work is going to be of prime importance and the content of the mail is also going to be of prime importance. None of these is going to work if the responsibility is not taken care of or the work is not done, but this is something that is certainly going to amplify the response and make a difference to your mail and also the outcome.
These were our top 10 tips on How To Write A Better Email. Do let us know your thoughts below and if you think we have missed something or if there is any specific situation we can help with, do let us know below or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will receive an update within the next 48 hrs