I’ve been emailing for over three decades now, and letter writing has not come back into vogue. But for folks like me, we never stopped writing letters or sending birthday or thank you cards by snail mail. Some things require your attention and effort.
With every email you create 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 create you risk misunderstandings. Or giving a less than favorable impression by not paying attention to detail.
In Email, Word Choice and Style Matter
With email, you lose the benefit of eye contact, body language, a firm handshake, or a smile. So we need to compensate for that by being clear and concise with every aspect of our emails.
It would benefit your communications to take the time to create emails that have these 5 Essential Elements firmly in place. These tips will help you not detract from your message and minimize the potential for any negative perception or misunderstanding.
5 Email Essentials to Integrate
Every email you write should have these 5 Essential Elements covered:
- The From Field: Display your name correctly. John F. Doe. Not john f doe, or john doe, j. doe. Proper capitalization is the sign of an educated communicator. Names in lower case provide a perception of a spammer or, worse yet – lacking education or tech-savvy.
- The Subject Line: A short, sweet, and well-thought-out Subject is crucial. Your Subject field will determine if your email even gets opened. Keep your Subject to 5-7 words that accurately identify the topic and context of your email. Then, modify the Subject field in ongoing conversations to reflect when the direction or topic of the discussion 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 not to 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 respect. You can get an indication of how those you communicate with prefer to be addressed by how they sign off their emails.
- The Body: Take the time to communicate with clarity as it is well worth your time. Complete, correctly structured, and capitalized sentences that reflect proper grammar and punctuation are crucial to your message. Typing in all lower case or caps does not lend to easy communication and gives the impression that you are either lazy or illiterate. Review and spell-check every message before clicking Send. Better yet, read your email 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 a closing that is consistent with the tone and objective of your message. Without 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 on your emails.
A Positive Impression is Everything
Make an effort to integrate these 5 essential elements in every email you send. You will contribute to the perception that you are tech-savvy, courteous, and a pleasure to communicate with. For email to be effective means communicating with knowledge, understanding, and courtesy.