Avoid Getting Your E-mails Deleted
It’s easy to fall into bad e-mailing habits because the whole format can begin to feel casual. By now everyone knows to avoid writing in all caps and using emoticons, but people often make the mistake of shooting off overly chummy professional e-mails and forming a devil-may-care disregard for grammar and punctuation. Simple rule of thumb: treat e-mail the same way you’d treat phoning someone. Get to the point, but be polite about it. Here is a look at some of the subtler nuances of the written word to help get your message across with style and grace:
1) Do An Introduction
Launching right into your request is the same as bursting into someone’s office and making demands. “Please send me this report” is a cold opener, and it may lead someone to brush it off until they’re good and ready to help. “Good morning, I hope you had a nice weekend” will ease your reader into a much more cooperative state.
2) Conduct a Read-Through
The software world has yet to invent a “Does This Sound Curt and Snippy?” check. This means your spelling and grammar may be perfect, but your tone may not be. An easy fix is to pretend you’re the receiver and read through the e-mail before sending it. You’ll notice if a phrase rubs you the wrong way or seems surly.
3) Make the Subject Line Short and Snappy
Thinking up a subject line that will pull the receiver in and still fit in a small space is tough work. Don’t make your subject line too vague or your reader may think its spam. Squeeze in too much information, and it will just confuse. Think of it as more of a reminder line, and write something that will help your reader easily pick it out of their inbox.
4) Avoid Long URLS
Ever get an e-mail that has a link to a Web site that goes on for 30 characters and gives no clue where it will take you? Be a better Web guide in your own e-mails by snipping a long URL down to a bite-sized one. Check out SnipURL.com, a free site where you paste in a long URL, give it a nickname, and click a button to generate a short, clear link. Your reader will appreciate it—and maybe even click through.