With every email you have the opportunity to communicate with clarity. The onus is on you as the author to ensure that the intent and tone you wish to relay is what comes across to those you email. With every email you also run the risk of being misunderstood or giving a less than positive impression by not paying attention to detail.
You lose the benefit of eye-contact, body language, a firm handshake or a smile with the written word of any kind. By taking the time to create emails that have these 5 Essential Elements firmly in place, you ensure your meaning is not detracted from while minimizing possible negative perceptions and misunderstandings.
Every email you write should have these 5 Essential Elements covered:
- The From Field: Your name needs to be displayed properly. John F. Doe. Not john f doe, or john doe, j. doe. Proper capitalization is very important here. When your name is in all lower case you open the door to being perceived a spammer or worse yet – lacking education or tech savvy.
- The Subject Line: A short, sweet and well thought out Subject is crucial and in some cases can help to ensure your email gets opened. Keeping your Subject to 5-7 words that accurately identify the topic and context of your email is imperative. Feel free to modify the Subject field in ongoing conversations to reflect when the direction or topic of the conversation has changed.
- The Greeting: Without a greeting at the beginning of your email you risk being viewed as bossy or terse. Take the time to include a Hello, or Hi and the recipient’s name. How you type your contact’s name (John, Mr. Doe, etc.) is indicative of the level of formality your email will portray. Be careful to not take the liberty of being overly informal too quickly. Let the other side dictate the level of formality and follow their lead. After all, formality is just another form of courtesy! You can usually get an indication of how those you communicate with prefer to be addressed by how they sign-off their emails.
- The Body: Taking the time to communicate with clarity is time well spent. Complete, correctly structured and capitalized sentences that reflect proper grammar and punctuation are crucial to your message. Typing in all lower case or all caps does not lend to easy communications and gives the impression you are either lazy or illiterate. Review and spell-check every message before clicking Send. Read your e-mail out loud to ensure you are relaying the intended tone.
- The Closing: Whether it be “Thank you for your time!”, “Sincerely”, “Look forward to hearing from you!” or “Warm regards,” use what is consistent with the tone and objective of your message. By not having a proper closing you increase the possibility that your email will be perceived as demanding or curt. Without exception close by including your name to put that final considerate touch to your emails.
Make the effort to integrate these 5 essential elements in every email you send and you will contribute to the perception that you are tech savvy, courteous and a pleasure to communicate with. When it comes to email its all about communicating with knowledge, understanding and courtesy!