A lot of communication is done via email these days, especially business communication. Most of my day is spent emailing back and forth to gather sources for the MyDeal lifestyle blog. I’ve worked with some great bloggers and businesses and luckily don’t have a crazy, bad story to tell. There are a few emailing mistakes that many people make and some I’m still trying to train myself out of. Here’s a few of the more common work email mistakes we make.
Sorry for XYZ. Never open an email with sorry. Unless you’ve missed an important deadline or are unable to meet their request, chances are you have nothing to apologise for. When you run a business it’s not practical to spend most of the day replying to emails. A quick response is usually ideal. But if you can manage to get back to people within a day then is it really a delayed response? If you work part-time or only check your emails every few days adding a note on this to your signature will absolve you of the need to say sorry I couldn’t get to this sooner. Apologising too frequently is only going to make you feel like you’re less than the amazing businesswoman you really are.
Ever written just wanted to follow up? Or just thought I’d ask? A lot of us are probably guilty of this one and it falls back on the worry that being direct in your intentions will come across as harsh in an email. Replace every ‘just’ with ‘I’ and see if it doesn’t get you a faster response.
Assuming no reply is the same as yes
No-one sends an email expecting to get nothing back. People sometimes assume an offer to contribute baby and kids products for our blog means that they have now been selected and can wait for the content to be published. However, no reply can be taken as a no from your end and means you miss out on opportunities. Even if it doesn’t appear to need a reply you can always find time to shoot off a yes, sounds great message.
Forgetting to open with a greeting
The only time this is okay is when you’ve been emailing back and forth for a while and your message is simple. Such as thanks for your help or great working with you. This is usually appropriate toward the end of your email conversation and even then it’s a good idea to refer to the person by name somewhere to give it a personal touch. For a new conversation it’s always polite to open with hello. It may be via computer but it’s still a conversation so standard rules apply.
Not changing the subject line
Once the topic of the email changes you should update the subject to keep things on track. Or better yet start a new thread when it becomes appropriate. Nobody likes reading through a long email chain searching for part of a conversation. It’s especially helpful when you need to search your email inbox as it means you can search the topic you want as opposed to the email of the person you were speaking with and get only the most relevant results.
If it belongs in a text message does it belong in a work email? Perhaps when you’ve worked together before and are building rapport you can sneak one in but why bother? Women are brought up to smile often and present as ‘nice’. Which is why we likely feel as though our emails could use a smile or two.
But there’s a way to be nice while still being professional. Opening your email with a greeting and signing off with something warm, yet business appropriate go a long way to making your email read kinder. And it doesn’t hurt to add in a hope you’ve been well if it’s been a while since your last email exchange.
None of these mistakes are career ending but being aware of them is the first step to training them out of your system. A great way to avoid mistakes in your email is to read it over before you send and ask yourself if this were a business discussion or meeting would I word this the same way? Sending more direct, professional emails is going to help you get a faster and clearer response.