Here are a few smart tricks that can help you avoid misconceptions in mail communication.
We don’t have the same tools in text as we do when talking face to face. This makes it important to be extra positive and careful in choosing your words to avoid being perceived incorrectly. Here are a few things to think about before sending that e-mail away:
Think of how the receiver will perceive the message;
- Appreciation is always welcomed, and e-mails are no exception.
- Keep it short, concise and structured.
- Answer even if you don’t have time to provide a complete answer, an answer including “I’ll get back to you” is always more appreciated than nothing at all.
- Make your purpose clear, even in the opening sentence and subject.
Most people today are used to receiving at least a few e-mails a day. And without a meaningful subject, it’s easy to overlook it when sorting the mailbox. It’s therefore important to write a purposeful subject that carefully conveys the purpose of the e-mail. Also, don’t leave the most important word for last, it might not be seen at all. The subject should be able to right away convey your purpose of the e-mail and in that way it will be more prioritized.
Structure the content
Due to readability it’s important not to include never-ending strings of text. Use breaks and titles to package the message and make it more appealing to read. The receiver should easily be able to understand the content and not be overwhelmed by a long paragraph or two.
Engaged opening phrase
Always start the mail with a genuine interest of the receiver, for example; “Hi (name), hope everything is well…” and don’t be afraid to send away som well appreciated feedback for a well completed task or pleasant meeting last time you saw each other.
Be stingy with new conversations in old mail threads
Be careful to not convey your message through old e-mails. The message will easily get lost in the whirlwind of old conversation. Also, if the subject isn’t the same, it might confuse the reader when trying to say something different. If you want to use an old thread, be careful to change the subject and make it obvious of why you’re using it.
Ask instead of directing someone
No one likes to be told what to do, and the same goes for e-mails. Instead of writing “Do that” which easily can be perceived as rude or bossy, recalibrate and say something like “will you”. It’s much more of a friendly approach and will be much more well received.
Be careful with capital letters and exclamation points
Building sentences with uppercase characters can easily translate to yelling so don’t forget to turn off your capslock when writing. In addition, if you combined with this use a bunch of exclamation points it’s just bound to make it worse. A lot of exclamation points can be perceived as rude and irritating. Less is more when it comes to exclamation points so one or two is definately enough. One in the beginning like after saying hello, and one in the end after saying something like “have a nice day”. In addition, smileys can be a great way to portray feelings within a pretty generic e-mail. But the same goes to say here, less is more! One or maximum two smileys is enough, because if you use too many it can seem unprofessional or silly.
It’s easy to forget answering an e-mail when short on time or ideas of what to answer. This does however leave the receiver sometimes thinking that they’re message didn’t come through or it will just irritate them. It’s better to send a short reply of that you’ll get back to them when you know more or similar. It’s always more appreciated with something or no reply at all and not knowing if it’ll ever happen.
Avoid cliché answers
Cliché responses are not always wrong, but they run the risk of easily making the email feel auto-generated. Most e-mails have the same structure, so it may be important to use cliché phrases for the right purpose. For example, people often write to you if you have any questions, and even if you really want to know if there are any questions, this is sometimes interpreted as auto-generated. Some of the ones you can avoid are;
- See attached file
- Thanks in advance
- I look forward to your feedback
- Hope you are doing well
- Sorry for the late reply
Long-winded emails without structure
Do not forget to be clear about what you want with your email and go straight to the point immediately after the greeting phrase.
Try to ensure that the recipient receives the following questions answered:
– Who are you?
– What do you want?
– What is the reason for you to contact me?
– What is the next step?
Avoid uninvolved trades
It is neither difficult nor time-consuming to throw in a nice concluding comment such as. “Have a nice day!” or “Thank you for a good collaboration” at the end of an email and it is perceived as much nicer than a “/ name”. Use a finish that feels genuine and personalized. Also do not forget to delete “sent from my iPhone” at the end, it unfortunately does not look so professional.
At Soluno, we think a lot about keeping a nice tone in our email conversations. An example of someone who always sends nice emails is Max Höög, one of our knowledgeable project managers.
If you are unsure how to end an email, some of the most commonly used termination phrases are;
- Have a nice day
- Thanks so much
Bad spelling or grammar can give the impression that you did not take the time to create a professional email. Proofreading applies to everything and most programs now include spell checking to avoid mistakes. Also, do not forget to double check that you wrote the correct name, unintentional errors can easily create irritation.
Latest update October 2020