Email can be an effective tool in business. It allows for efficient communication with customers, co-workers and colleagues in your industry as it does not require both the sender and receiver to be available simultaneously. However, email is often considered informal which can present some difficulty when trying to compose a professional message.
Before drafting an email it's important to consider the following:
- Do you know the recipient? If you do, are you asking for a favor? Or an introduction?
- If it’s a new professional acquaintance, reference where you met and/or a mutual connection to establish rapport. If it’s an intro you seek, include a snapshot of your company and your responsibilities or communicate via a social site with an internal email [InMail] program like LinkedIn to streamline the pursuit.
- Making a pitch? If yes, get to know your audience. Being familiar with more than just the recipient’s job title is essential for a well-crafted email pitch. Just ask HubSpot.
Often, things like tone can get lost in translation in an email. Approaching your message with the following tips in mind can help avoid miscommunication:
- Create an eye-catching subject line. It should be succinct and to the point.
- Time is money. Be brief! You don't want to lose the recipient the moment they open your message. Assume your recipient has a high volume of emails. In the interest of time, they may skim your message, resulting in missed details.
- Address the person directly and be personable. For example: "Hi Jenn, I hope all is well!" or "Good morning, Jenn!" both address the recipient and exude a tone that will be well received.
- Speaking of tone. Be sensitive. Are you offering criticism or feedback? Perhaps it would be best addressed in person. Are you worried your email is so concise that it's reading as rude? Close your email with a positive comment or sincere compliment to offset any misconstrued sharpness.
- Don't include anything you wouldn't want to see as a headline. In today's world, anything you write is just one click away from the wrong hands. Keep this in mind before hitting "send."
- Watch out for grammar and spelling mistakes. Using shorthand in an email is one thing, but making a grammatical or spelling error can hurt the recipient's interpretation of the message and perception of you as a professional. Proofread your message and then proofread it, again.
- Be wary of elaborate signatures. When signing off in an email keep things simple. Relying on a corporate logo can be dangerous as they do not always load correctly. Test your signature before you send your message or stick to the basics: your name, title, business and phone number.
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