8 Quick Checks | Before You Send That Email
- Is it necessary?
- Is the subject line text title concise?
- Are you building or maintaining relationships?
- What is the message?
- Is the message clearly stated?
- Did you check your grammar and punctuation?
- Did you choose the appropriate salutation and closing?
- Did you add your attachments and links?
Take a step back and breath before sending that email, here’s why.
Emails are no less different than a formal written letter. Depending on the nature of the email, any of us can get caught up in an emotion. The emotions we convey are the ones that get responded to. The emotions we ought to keep in check are the urgency, quip rhetorical, silliness, hot headed, inappropriate, and a conundrum of emotional variables that fit a demanding administrative office and can catch you off guard during email correspondence. So, before you send that email, do the eight-step check to make sure your emotions aren’t involved and your email stands out to get the message across.
Is it necessary?
Why is this important, because time is money. Unless you have something important or relevant to add to a conversation topic, then don’t send the email. And for gosh sake don’t “reply to all” unless absolutely required. Clutter is a task no manager, internal or external business partner wants to deal with. Back in the day, refraining from email excess over load was important because servers and mailboxes had limited data storage. Today, some still do, but you can stick to the facts by answering with simple phrases like yes, no, done, complete, on it, will do and most people are not going to be offended. Remember, there simply isn’t enough time to read redundant emails.
- Use IM for internal conversations that don’t require a paper trail.
Is the subject line text title concise?
Stating the core kernel for your email correspondence is primary to conveying your message to anyone.
Using or referring to dates, numbers and or project title at the beginning of the subject line is an important way to refine and define your email purpose. I had a recruiter who put the job number at the end of the email topic and I couldn’t see it. By happen stance, I learned something new. In the 2016 version of Microsoft Outlook a drop down arrow in the subject line reveals the rest of the text, but unless you know this, that “kernel” of information stays hidden. Keep non-essential subject matter to the end of the subject line, because most often the email address identifies the person or company and if you’ve been exchanging emails the details are in the message body.
Watch the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIJ07nft7ZQ
Are you building or maintaining a relationship?
It is an indelible fact, relationships erode from poor communication or poor communication skills. Make sure to address your reader appropriately and always say please and thank you in every way, but not overboard. These two words can open more doors than you might imagine. They should be used even after years of having a relationship with someone, because it conveys respect for them as a human being and have not taken them for granted. In building rapport, you are sewing a seed.
What is the message?
I’ve always found that tone of voice is the most difficult to convey in an email message. Use the least inflamed words and keep the conversation as concise as possible. Being concise leaves little room for a misconstrued interpretation. Stating the purpose of the message in the first sentence is imperative. Is the message an introduction, an ongoing message thread, a situation, problem, need? Phrases such as: I’m writing on behalf, I’m writing to request, I’m writing to ask, I heard you say, I understand you need, your direction is, I’m confirming that; are instrumental in quickly letting the reader know what the message is about, that you understand their message and are actively listening or working on their request.
Is the message clearly stated?
State the message as clearly as possible. The first sentence should state the purpose of your email. For example; I am responding to, in reference to, per our conversation are ways to address an email. Try to keep the reference point in the first part of the message sentence and continue with new elements thereafter. Where applicable, keep your message to one paragraph after initial introduction. Use bullet points and numeric list to call out specific areas that need highlighting. The reader may not always be focused solely on your project or topic and multi-tasking several threads, so write your message short, clear and to the point.
Did you check your grammar and punctuation?
Always perform a spelling and grammar check. Today’s applications contain automation tools that will highlight any erroneous errors or question usage correctness. Make sure to set up your email or writing programs that highlight spelling and grammar discrepancies. This is true for all languages. There is no excuse for poorly written correspondence. Word offers a “speak selected text” button that will read the highlighted word, phrase or sentence. Utilizing this feature allows you to correct words that are spelled correctly, but misused in a sentence. Watch the video: https://youtu.be/bytXB40FTLk
Did you choose the appropriate salutation and closing?
The salutation, should represent the reader. Unless you are sending a blind email using old school Sir or Madam, then directly addressing the recipient is the right approach for today’s business etiquette. The key here is “know your audience” and use your best judgement. Whether you use full credentials, “Dear Professor Quigley”, “Dear Senior Human Resource Director”, Dear Ms. Logic, or a simple salutation such as Hello, Hi, or Attention, should all carry the same weight that speaks to your reader in the manner they will want to respond. By respecting the reader’s formal credentials, you will establish a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship before they even read your email. Thereafter, a first name basis is typical.
The closing should also convey the appropriate level of relationship to the recipient. The standard Thank you, Sincerely, Best Regards, and my favorite, Thank you in advance are excellent closures to your signature details. Don’t forget, these are also automated features available in both MS Word and Outlook. Watch the video: https://youtu.be/-zto003vJ8c
Did you add your attachments and links?
How many times were you too quick to send an email without the links or attachments? Oh, yes you have. We all have. The 8 step check – walk away will solve this.
Now walk away, because there are situations where leaving a message sit open (set your own time, 15 min – 30 min) for review can really benefit. Unless it is absolutely “urgent” leave it open to look at and review all the aspects of your correspondence. Step away for a refreshment, do you see it the same way when you sit back down?
By stepping back before you send that email, you’re showing professional restraint and thoroughness.
Then, take a deep breath and push the send button. It really works.
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