Email, like relationships, is both beautiful and complicated. Some are simple and easy, while some are just plain hard work. And yes, I’m still referring to both. Sent from one human to another, emails can inspire friendship, cooperation, and legendary success.
We rely on email to get things done every single day. Globally the world sends 8.5 billion emails per day. And those figures are predicted to increase at a rate of 4.6% over the next 3 years reaching 257 billion emails a day by 2020. But despite spending 28% of our time working on email, we’re still searching for the magic formula to get it just right.
Whether you work in an office or not, email etiquette is one of the most understated subjects, but it shouldn’t be. Email has become the fabric of our lives, so figuring out how to become an all-star email player is vital to your future. So here are 6 rules you want to know now to find your happily ever after.
1. Be clear with your intentions
Don’t send mixed signals. The minute your email hits the precious inbox, make sure the object of your affection knows exactly what you want. Whether you’re making small talk or revealing your soul, honesty is always the best policy. When communicating always try to be concise while providing as much detail as necessary to get your point across.
For example, if you need help from a colleague, you might want to write, “Need help with Report A” instead of a vague “Help.” Or if you’re asking someone to join you for a meeting, you can say “Checking your availability for Team Meeting today at 3pm” instead of just “Meeting.” Not only will your peers appreciate your directness, but searchability will be at an all-time high.
2. Avoid TMI
Keep it classy and use your discretion. If you’re not a fan of the dreaded TMI, think about how this applies to your emails too. People’s time is precious and no one wants to read emails from 30 people that have nothing to do with them. Although they can still choose to ignore the email chain, message notifications can be incredibly distracting. Before you hit ‘reply all’ ask yourself if you really need to or if a simple ‘reply’ will suffice.
3. Get personal with your greetings
Everyone is unique, which is great news because only you can be you. But it also means that how you choose to close your email will vary depending on the recipient. It’s just like dating. If your Tinder date goes really well, you might choose to close with a long passionate goodbye kiss, but if you feel the need to make up a fake excuse and split, you’re probably going to choose something different.
When it comes to email sign-offs, experts admit there’s no set formula, but before you tell the boss to “smell ya later”, give your closing a bit of thought.
4. Don’t shout
Who likes being yelled at? No one… and the same goes for the world of email. Did you know that one of the cardinal rules of writing, whether in email or text messages, is to never use all caps? Using all capital letters is commonly interpreted as yelling, so if that’s not your intention, take the caps lock off. It’s friendlier and easier to read. Plus it will probably earn you a nicer response, so it’s a win-win.
5. Measure twice
Working in a whirlwind state makes it easier for blunders to sneak past your eagle eyes. Which is why it’s even more important to take the time to re-read your email before hitting send. Avoid an embarrassing situation, pesky spelling mistakes, and leaking confidential information to the wrong recipient. For good measure, try adding the email address last to avoid sending an unfinished masterpiece.
And while you’re in the address bar, always double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient. If you have 6 friends named John in your address list, double-check that you’ve selected the right one before you unleash your email into the world.
6. Show some gratitude
Saying thank you isn’t just good manners – it’s good business. In fact, saying thank you to your clients, especially the new ones can increase your business by 17%. And other research concurs that ending on a note of gratitude is the way to go. The next time you’re writing an email, consider ending it with “Thanks in advance”, which received the highest response rate of 65.7%. Unfortunately, the prize for worst close went to “best”.
“When we thank someone in advance, we’re writing with the expectation that they are on our side. And it never hurts to hedge your bets on a positive outcome,” said Vision6 CMO Samantha Shah.
Now that you’re an email etiquette expert, go ahead and share this article so more people can be awesome like you. Thanks in advance!