There haven’t been many rationalizations that have changed the office reality so much as writing business emails. It’s fast, cheap, and so easy… At least many people think so and tend to overuse them.
This is a vivid issue, as the average number of corporate emails sent daily accounted for 41 in 2015. It had been growing annually, just like the number of emails received, that reached 84 the same year. However, more than on the number of emails, we should focus on their quality, the writer’s input and engagement. This can improve our effectiveness, as well as the impression we make on the people we cooperate with. How to get the most of writing corporate emails, raising the efficiency of communication?
Writing business emails – basic rules
The corporate world has its rules, and so does writing business emails. First of all, there needs to be a good reason for making the effort of sending a formal email. This goal ought to be easy to name, which should be done right in the subject line. The email, in most cases, consists of a few parts. These are the salutation (best with the recipient’s name), introduction/opening, the body, and the closing. The latter should include the sender’s name and contact information.
In every part, the email needs to be well-balanced between the casual and formal styles. In short, our writing should reflect the familiarity level that we and the recipient share. For closing, we may choose “Sincerely yours”, and “Respectfully” but also “Cheers”, “Best”, or simply “Take care”. Whatever the case, we should re-read the whole email before sending, to correct each mistake. This includes typos, spelling and grammar mistakes, and, primarily, mistakes in the company and person’s name, or positions held. The most important issues, the goal of our email, are most visible placed at the beginning. If they’re in the fourth paragraph, the reader may simply overlook them. However, we may repeat them at the end, calling for (clearly defined) action.
If we fail to obey these rules, it may seriously harm our company’s Employer Branding efforts. Also, we should adopt the formal email etiquette, when we are writing to HR people regarding a job posting. This applies to virtually any position and area, like IT/Telco, Finance & Banking, as well as Professional Services. The recruitment specialist may say a lot about candidates based on the way they communicate via emails. This may concern Executive Search, Recruitment Process Outsourcing, IT Contracting, and Interim Recruitment services, to name but a few.
Formal emails – first impression first
Respectful versus embarrassing, productive, or time-wasting – this is what our email communication may be. It all depends on how we proceed with business emails we send, starting with a subject line. And writing a good one is an art. Copywriters often spend hours figuring out great catchphrases to make recipients open emails sent by marketing departments. A subject line within formal emails should be short (but not like “Urgent”, or “Questions”), concise, simple, and specific.
In general, it ought to have less than 9 words, with crucial ones right at the beginning. We should adopt a kind of search engine style. A good email title is unequivocal and enables making further research, categorizing, and filtering through the appropriate keywords. Leaving the subject line empty disables these actions, and is simply rude. Neither the subject line nor the email content should inform about multiple issues at once.
The subject line is vital as it may make recipients read the email right away, or put it off. However, the latter may also happen after they read the beginning of our email. Especially when we don’t know the person we are writing to but we want something from them. Nobody likes being nagged to do something by a stranger. Being one, after introducing yourself try to convince the other side that you have something in common. The event you both took part in, the same interests, colleagues, shared plans, or tasks.
To improve the readability of business emails, we should think about their structure and good organization. Just divide the text into paragraphs, and follow the logical order. There are some additional tools like listings or bulleted points that do wonders for lengthy texts. You should, however, be very cautious when it comes to using decorative fonts, colors, and the like.
Overusing business emails
Emails are so handy and helpful that it may be tempting to overuse them. We should remember, though, that sending emails in a professional environment is not as it is in personal lives. It is, or at least ought to be, restricted to certain circumstances and occasions. We’d better be very careful about what we write and how we do it. And stick to the rule that all our job-related emails need to be more or less formal.
In a corporate reality, if you aren’t sure whether to CC somebody or not, you probably shouldn’t. Respect somebody else’s time as reading and replying to emails is engaging and time-consuming. As a result, the productivity of the whole team becomes significantly reduced. Also, if you do communicate but don’t expect a reply, don’t put the recipient’s name in the “To“ section. Instead, CC that person. Similarly, try not to overuse the “Reply All“ button.
Besides, writing elaborate emails takes your time, as well. Plus, some things are better said, not written. During the conversation, we may find out what’s between the lines, or lost in translation. And there’s the body language, and the sense of humor, in case of face to face meetings. We may also achieve more when speaking in a more relaxed manner. At least we may control it, trying to make things right. Even if we fail, we don’t leave the evidence of our misbehavior, which may be truly beneficial to us.
Corporate emails: avoiding emotions and any excess
What often separates writing emails from talking to people are emotions. Contrary to a regular conversation, within formal emails, we should hold our tempers and avoid any sensitive, personal issues. It’s our mind that ought to take over the reins in terms of what we write. Primarily, we’d better not express negative emotions, like anger, shame, feeling bitter, disappointed, offended, or treated unfairly. Such situations are just not worth sending elaborate emails nor using capital letters to “scream“ at somebody in writing. It’s far better to talk to the person in question if we really need to contact them. But maybe it’s better to try to calm down and think everything over.
There is no place for unnecessary emotions, but also for needless sentences, or even words, within formal emails. It’s facts and figures, and not rumors, unsupported statements, or impressions that should fill our written messages. We’d better not treat emails like regular conversations where we feel free to switch from one subject to another. One email should only concern one issue. This will help the people who like to keep order in their inboxes and categorize emails received. Sending chaotic, disorganized, or emotional emails might be, above all, regarded as very unprofessional.