Think you’re a pro at e-mailing? I mean, how difficult can it be – you write what you want to say, press send and wait for a reply!
But if you noticed your replies have been coming in later (or not coming in at all!), you might want to check if maybe – just maybe – that email you send is actually offensive... ie, it’s rude and unprofessional, and colleagues (and clients!) are reluctant to reply you. Like how in a face-to-face conversation, you say the wrong thing and the person you’re talking to doesn’t exactly know how to respond.
Mastering the art of good email etiquette doesn’t mean you write a best-seller prose each time. But it does mean paying extra attention to what you’re writing in the body of your email and a little more. So here are some things you are doing wrong when composing your email that you need to stop right now.
#1 Just sending you a reminder....
We are all adults; we don’t need to be sent “reminders” on getting certain tasks done. Essentially, writing that reminder email to a colleague is akin to asking for something that’s late... and your colleague could be annoyed that you are constantly “reminding” them when they are already working on it or worst, the deadline’s not up yet!
So instead of the reminder email, do this instead: Email your colleague to ask how’s it going and if they need help. That indirectly presses them to get the task done on time without you coming across as annoying.
#2 Not getting to the point
You start your email with small talk and non-essential stuff before getting to the real deal. By the time your recipient reaches that part, he or she would have lost interest in your email and pressed delete. And if you’re known as someone who waffles a lot in their emails, chances are whenever your name pops up in the inbox, your colleague is likely to ignore your emails or keep it to later and eventually forget about it.
So do this instead: Get straight to the point. Start with a short hello, how are you and go direct to why you are emailing them. That’s more likely to elicit a speedier response.
#3 Misspelling names!
How is it possible to misspell someone’s name if A. you are replying to their emails (and their name is clearly spelled in the address or in their sign-off and B. if you have the name card in front of you writing that introduction email. Whenever you misspell someone’s name it says that you can’t be bothered to get it right. And nobody likes that. Not even you.
#4 Copying everyone. All. The. Time
There’s no need to share with the entire office your email with a colleague asking for a document. Or CC-ing without approval – for example, adding a colleague to a reply on an email chain that may contain sensitive issues or worst, something someone said about that colleague! Share only information that’s relevant with the right people.
#5 Writing multiple emails to the same person. All at the same time
You shoot off the first email to your colleague concerning issue A. Then you realise, oops, you forgot something else and shoot off another email in just mere seconds. And then oops, forgot something else again... you get the idea. Your recipient is probably going to get super annoyed getting multiple pings in such a short time from you. And your emails are all one-liners without any clear organisation or thought.
What’s going to happen? Your colleague is likely to miss something or completely disregard your emails because he is annoyed and busy doing something else before being interrupted by your multiple emails. Wrong move!
#6 Emoji much?
A smiley face here and there – OK. A smiley face in almost every line and to your BOSS? Not OK. Go easy on the emojis if you want to remain your professional image. And know your audience! It’s OK to use emojis when arranging for Friday drinks with colleagues; not so when you are rectifying an issue with a client (that sad face emoji won’t make things better).
#7 Being rude
The bad thing about non-verbal communication like emails is that it can be interpreted wrongly. You may think you’re being direct in your emails but the recipient may read it as you being snippy. And it is easy to show a little irritation in your emails when you’re not face-to-face with the recipient.
Our advice? Read through your email before sending to see if maybe it can be misconstrued. Or if you are feeling irate with your colleague and it shows through your email, you might want to think twice before hitting send.