When email first came on the scene, we had no rules for using it correctly and effectively. As usual, the technology preceded the rules of behavior.
Your email is as much a part of your professional image as:
- the clothes you wear
- the greeting on your voice mail
- the handshake you offer
- the way you present your business card
If you want to impress on every front and build positive business relationships, steer clear of these email mistakes.
- Omitting the subject line. Given the huge volume of email that everyone receives, the subject header is essential if you want your message read.
- Not making your subject line meaningful. Your header should be pertinent to your message, not just “Hi” or “Hello.” The recipient is going to decide the order in which to read email based on who sent it and what it is about. Your email will have lots of competition.
- Not using a greeting and personalizing your message Failure to put in the person’s name and give a greeting, which can range from "Dear," Hi," or "Hello," can make you and your email seem cold and detached.
- Not accounting for tone. When you communicate with another person face to face, 93% of the message is non-verbal. Email has no body language. The reader cannot see your face or hear your tone of voice so chose your words carefully.
- Writing the great American novel. Keep your message short. Use only a few paragraphs, a few sentences per paragraph and lots of white space.
- Thinking that no one else will ever see your email. Once it has left your mailbox, you have no idea where your email will end up. Don’t send anything that you couldn’t stand to see on a billboard on your way to work the next day.
- Expecting an instant response. Not everyone is sitting in front of the computer with email turned on. If you need a quick response, pick up the phone.
- Completing the “To” line first. The emial address of the person to whom you are writing is the last piece of information you should enter. If you enter the recipient’s address first, a mere slip of the finger can send a message before its time.
- Using email when you ought to pick up the phone.
Email makes everything easier and faster including making a powerful business impression and establishing positive professional relationships. The businessperson who uses the technology effectively and appropriately will see the results of that effort reflected in the bottom line.