Professional emails: get ‘em right

by | Posted October 10th, 2013

There are many genres that a writer could work in on any given day. But there is one task that almost every writer (or really, almost any professional) faces in their day to day.

Email. It’s a seemingly straightforward task… yet somehow it can be so nerve-wracking in a professional setting. Many people never receive any instruction in how to craft a professional email, so here are some quick tips:

  1. Sound like a human being. It seems obvious, but if you’re not careful you can sound like one of those pre-recorded telephone messages. Don’t work off a template and fill in blanks.
  2. Don’t rush. Emails are meant to be concise. That doesn’t mean you can’t use a sentence or two to ease into the main content. This is especially important with an email to a stranger or new acquaintance.
  3. Be polite. Again, you would think it’s common sense, but it never hurts to add “please” and “thank you” to any requests. Variations on “thank you” can often make great closers.
  4. Proofread. Gmail has this great feature that allows you to give yourself a buffer after hitting the send button. Those ten seconds can be a lifesaver if you notice a flaw at just the right time. But you can avoid the problem all together by giving each email a quick proofread and edit before pulling the trigger.

Another perspective on writing professional emails can be found at Problogger.