A lot of people spend a significant amount of time in the office sending emails, but there are a significant portion of them that are so badly written, confusing, or just plain pointless that co-workers spend valuable periods of time every day figuring out what someone else has just sent. We thought we’d offer five tips to help turn your emails into something people will benefit from.
1) Learn grammar and spelling.
In all honesty, this is probably the number one reason many people find that their writing is generally disregarded. If you can’t spell or construct proper sentences, from emails to writing copy for www.o2.co.uk, people are not going to take you seriously in an professional environment.
2) Don’t send pointless emails.
Some people will waste the time of their co-workers simply by repeatedly sending emails about topics that don’t require one. Anything from the water-cooler being empty to asking questions you could Google the answers to is going to slow people down and frustrate them.
3) Use it formally, and only for business.
Don’t send emails in a formal or large office (100 employees or more) to announce birthdays, newly-born children, or what your dog did last week. Keep everything to an informal channel. Retirements and serious personal incidents or absences are fine, however.
4) Don’t use mailing lists unless you have to.
Having an email only relevant to two members of a forty-person team sent to every one of them because you’re too lazy to enter two addresses instead of one is ridiculous, so try and avoid this – irrelevant emails just clutter up people’s inboxes and waste their time.
5) Keep the extras to a minimum.
Long signatures and warnings about confidential information aren’t needed when sending emails internally. People know who you are, and if not, add a name and job title. As for the confidentiality – it’s an internal email, so it’s going to be career suicide for anyone who forwards it outside the company, regardless – but this is a preference that shifts from business to business, so it’s not as crucial.
Hopefully this will improve your in-office communication. If not, buy a loud-hailer, or an inflatable mallet!