Practical Tips To Increase Email Professionalism
– Do not send business messages from a free email provider as this does not show you have a credible business. Invest in getting your email address through registering your domain name with a webhosting company. This can be done for less than RM300 inclusive of a two year registration. For less than RM500, you can invest in a POP3 email with five email addresses.
– The email username you choose should be free of numerals. Also do not try to be ‘cool’ by having names like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It
does not giving credibility to your business. Ideally, your name should be reflected in your business email. If you do not want this, include your designation instead. For instance, email@example.com.
– Add a business touch by inserting your company logo on top of the body text.
– Do not spam your business contacts inboxes with unnecessary emails such as jokes, poetry, urban legends and chain letters.
– Put a title in the subject line as it will help your recipients identify the relevance and prioritize your email. Do not leave the subject line blank.
– Begin messages by addressing the recipient directly. This is a basic consideration and should be included in all emails.
– Make the email personal so that the person who receives it knows that the email was written and sent by you rather than by your assistant.
– Keep your message concise and to the point. A business email is meant to get a result, communicate an important fact or get feedback. You’ll get results better by clearly stating your message.
– Style and tone can impact an email’s message. For example, you may think that using all CAPS are attractive, but many find them to be annoying, if not amateurish. Keep the tone businesslike. Informal emails may be seen as unprofessional. Consider your relationship with the recipient when writing your message so as to avoid any misinterpretation.
– Be sure to remove long strings of email addresses that often precede actual message content. People get discouraged when they have to scroll through a page of addresses and time-stamps before they reach the actual content.
– If you are sending to a group of people, try using the “BC” (blind carbon copy) rather than the ‘CC’ (carbon copy) option, as the names of other recipients will not be displayed.
– Reply with the original message attached. Do not send a new message with a one-word answer such as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as this will make no sense to the recipient(s). Bear in mind that it could be days before you send a reply, and your recipient(s) would be totally clueless as to the context of your message.
– Inform the other party that you are sending an attachment across. Due to the threat of computer viruses that come in through email, many people won’t open their attachments unless they know the sender.
– Do not send large files of more than 1 MB to recipients on dial-up as this will clog their inboxes. Break large files and send them in different attachments. Ensure all files you send across are virus free.
– If business associates or others in your address book inform you that you have sent them an attachment with virus, do not get defensive. Instead, thank the person for informing you that your PC is infected and that you will take immediate action. Many virus programmes spread without anybody intentionally sending out a virus infected email. Bugbear virus, the most prolific email virus to date, had spread quickly by disguising infected messages as “replys” or “forwards” to an existing message. Take proactive action by installing the latest anti-virus programme, scanning your hard drive and finally isolating the virus. Then download and install a virus patch which is freely available on many anti-virus sites. Once you have cleaned your PC, inform the party who warned you about the virus. You’ve got to rebuild his faith in your computer abilities.
– Writing an email message is almost the same as writing a business letter. Here are more pointers.
– Address people you don’t know as Mr, Mrs, Miss, or Dr. Only address someone by first name if it is all right with them.
– Your content must be straight to the point and precise. Do not use emoticons and abreviations as these do not look professional.
– Make sure your grammar and spelling is intact. Use a spell checker before you send your message across. Remember that anyone can read an email message you write, from the CEO on down. Incorrect grammar and spelling may not put forward the positive impression you want to create.
– Do not use the email to vent your anger and frustration or make a complaint about someone. Send a letter of complaint on an official letter with your business letterhead. If you have a bone to pick, it is best to do so in a face to face meeting, rather than through email.
– Add a touch of class by signing off messages: ‘Respectfully’, ‘Yours truly’ , or ‘Sincerely’.