“Reply to All” and Other Business Email Woes
For years now, emails have been the go-to mode of communication in office and business settings. It’s fast, easy and a great way to keep a virtual paper trail.
However, email can have the unfortunate effect of being a little too informal at times. There are certain things most of us would never dream of doing in a formal company letter that slip into emails far too often.
Some of these tendencies can make the sender (or the responder) look unprofessional at best or just plain clueless at worst.
So the next time you type up an email to your boss or a customer, remember these tips before you hit “send.”
Ask yourself if you really need to “reply to all.”
Anyone who has ever worked in a corporate office for any length of time has likely been trapped by the vicious “reply to all” cycle. It takes just one person to start it and suddenly, your inbox is inundated with emails you probably care nothing about, forcing you into constant “delete” mode lest a really important email get lost.
Be considerate of others by not replying to all unless you’re absolutely sure everyone needs the information. And if you’re the one sending out an email to a long list, keep this from happening in the first place by putting your email address in the “To” field and blind copying everyone else.
Don’t! Get! Carried! Away! With! Punctuation!
The well-placed exclamation point is a great way to express enthusiasm. For instance, closing an email with “Thank you!” lets the recipient know that you really are appreciative. But too many exclamation points can seem disingenuous. On the other hand, finishing every sentence with a period can come across as abrupt and unfriendly. The key, as with most things, is to strike the right balance.
Caps lock. Just…no.
Luckily, it seems that fewer and fewer people are doing this these days. But if you’re one of them, it’s time to get acquainted the shift key. Typing in all caps not only makes your emails hard to read, it has the effect of making the recipient feel as if they’re being yelled at.
In other words, PLEASE STOP.
Eject the emoticons.
Like exclamation points, emoticons (you know, those little sideways smiley or frowny faces) have their place. They can help lighten the mood or let a coworker that you’re joking.
However, using them in emails to your boss or, worse yet, a customer can make you seem silly or unprofessional.
Emails and texts aren’t the same thing.
In the fast back-and-forth of texting, especially on a touch screen, it’s sometimes necessary and more efficient to take spelling shortcuts. However, business emails simply are not the place to use “UR” instead of “you are.” Taking the time to properly spell out words and use correct grammar shows the recipient that you’re someone they can trust to not take shortcuts in your job. To that end, be sure to run spell check or quickly proofread your email before sending it off.