The way you email says a lot about you. It tells people about your communication skills and grammar knowledge and also presents a virtual version of who you are and who you aim to be. Whether you’re fresh out of high school and new to the game or you’re a seasoned pro, there are a few pointers when it comes to email etiquette that will launch you from emailing like an intern to sending email like a boss.
Now more than ever, we’re relying on email as our main form of communication with colleagues and clients. Depending on your job, you may still be working from your home office (AKA: your bedroom).
Slowly but surely we’re seeing people return to their corporate offices and readjust to face-to-face communication. Ask too many questions in your emails and you come off as annoying; say too many “I’m sorry’s” and you seem unsure of yourself.
If you’re still relying on your email persona to make an impression, check out our how-to guide on how to sound professional in an email and improve your writing skills.
6 Writing tips so you can email like a boss
Don’t overdo it with the exclamation points
One thing we often see in poor email etiquette is an overuse of exclamation points.
In a digital age where most communication is conducted virtually, over text, email, phone, social media, and messenger, it’s easy for things to get misconstrued. Where we might use facial expressions and intonations to sound nice and agreeable, we’re left with words alone.
You might be tempted to throw in an exclamation point or ten to replace those non-textual cues, but it can make your emails seem too conversational or friendly when talking business. If you do use an exclamation mark, use it on hellos and goodbyes or as a way to match the energy of your recipient – don’t use it as filler.
Ask yourself, “Does an exclamation point really improve the quality of my message?”
Enough with the apologizing!
Starting an email with “I’m sorry” can actually lower the respect people have for you. According to one study, frequent apologizing changes the way we’re viewed by others as well as the way we view ourselves.
Instead of apologizing for a late reply or an oversight, edit your message to say “Thank you for your patience” or “I appreciate you bringing this to my attention.”
This type of language shows that you recognize the inconvenience but still demonstrates that you’re in charge.
Be confident in your decisions
“I think…” and “I feel…” are no-gos. If you believe there’s a better way to do something or you want to share an idea, replace “I think…” with “Why don’t we…” or “It would be best if…” Give the person room to disagree but be assertive with your beliefs and thoughts.
Don’t send emails you’ll regret…
Assume that your emails are written in stone. Anything you send can be pulled up and used against you in the future, so don’t let your emotions get the best of you.
Getting upset with your clients or colleagues over email, even if it feels justified at the moment, is probably going to make you seem irrational and angry, out of context. The key to emailing like a boss is keeping your cool when it’s tested.
Make sure to proofread your emails before you send them. Once it leaves your email, assume privacy is out the door – a quick once-over can save you!
Be clear and cut to the chase
Nobody wants to reread your email multiple times just to understand what you’re trying to say (don’t forget to spell check). When you write emails, try to make your point quickly and clearly. Too much text in the body of your email or subject line will either be ignored or viewed as disorganized.
When you only have a short space of time to get your point across, it’s tempting to try and squeeze in as much as possible, but especially when writing emails, this isn’t the best way to go about it. It doesn’t matter how much information you’re trying to put across, if your email is too convoluted or complicated it will be difficult for readers to understand what you’re saying. There’s no need to complicate things when a simpler message will get your point across just as effectively.
If you can learn to write clearly and concisely, your email recipients will be appreciative!
Use a professional email address
Business emails should come from a professional email address – this one is important. The AOL username you made in middle school won’t cut it when you’re writing professional emails to potential employers and clients. Stick to using your name or some variation of your initials.
We also advise against over-customizing email signatures – don’t do it! Stick to necessary contact information only in your signature. It’s a good idea to include your email address, phone number, social media profiles, and website – but no need to include emojis or a smiley face. Leave the inspirational quotes and colorful fonts to the appropriate industries!
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Email like a boss
The key to making a strong impression through email is to write with an active voice and exude confidence. Proofread your copy, double-check your recipients, and be diligent when presenting ideas. If you’re interested in getting more out of your email list, sign up for a free 14 day trial of rasa.io below.