Do your emails hit the right note every time? Or are they a bit hit and miss? Have you ever had an email exchange where you’ve started to wonder if you are both talking about the same thing? Or read an email and been unsure what the sender needs you to do?
Emails are a very interesting method of communication. You can dash off an email in a very short space of time, and we often do. Whether business emails, marketing or personal, for some they are the “go to” method of communication. Easy, quick and you don’t have to worry about disturbing the recipient with an ill-timed phone call. The recipient can read it when they are ready.
However, humans gain a lot of their information via non-verbal cues, facial expression, voice tone and inflection, body posture, hand gestures, and so forth. All of this is missing from an email and this can sometimes cause issues. So here are a few tips to ensure your emails hit the right note every time.
1. Reply in a similar tone. If an email comes in addressed to Dear Mr Smith, reply back Dear Mr Jones. Then keep the whole tone of the email business-like, factual and reserved.
Mirroring the tone helps to ensure that the email will be viewed as appropriate and acceptable by the recipient.
2. Business Not Personal. Keep to business and keep it professional. Don’t put anything in an email that you wouldn’t be comfortable for everyone in the company to see. It is also a bad idea to air views that are not in line with company policies and procedures.
3. Subject, Object. Your subject line is critical. It needs to tell someone what you are getting in touch about, and, if action is needed, when that action should take place. “Meeting on Tuesday” is not a great subject line. “Team Meeting: 20 Feb 2018 – Agenda Items required” is much better. It gives enough detail to allow a decision about whether it is urgent enough to open right now, or can wait until a more appropriate time.
4. Spelling and Grammar. Poor spelling and grammar makes the message look rushed and unprofessional. Poorly presented emails give a bad impression of your business. Grammarly is available for Outlook if you want a bit of help with that and I have some proof checking tips here if you would like some advice on that.
5. Clear, Concise and Effective. Does the message say what you intended? Are the details correct? Could your words be misinterpreted? Have you specified any deadlines clearly? Have you attached all the documents you mention in the text?
6. Layout. A clear layout makes your message easier to read. An approachable, clearly laid out, concise Email is more likely to get read than a long rambling one.
7. Streamline. Do you get lots of very similar email enquiries into your business? Perhaps you get lots of people asking if you are open on Saturdays, requesting a price list, or needing to confirm bookings. Rather than spending lots of time answering these similar Emails individually, why not create some template emails. For most people you will be able to send the email just as it is written, and for others you can tweak it to fit each time. It can be a great way to save a bit of time without compromising on customer service.
Find out how to set these up in Gmail on the Tools, Tips and Training page.