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According to technology research firm Radicati, business users sent and received an average of 121 emails a day in 2014. With so many emails flying around our inbox, it can be tempting to treat email communication casually, relegating it to quick one-liners like text messages.
However, one must not forget the important role of email in establishing effective business relationships, and thus extra care must be taken to ensure professional best practices when writing an email.
Check out our list of 8 tips that you need to know when sending business emails:
1. Establish a rapport.
No matter what the context, human beings are social creatures and reaching out to someone only when you need their help is not the way to build a smart and effective business relationship.
Being proactive with forms of communication like email is a great way to proactively demonstrate gratitude, start conversations, and pre-emptively cultivate a great business relationship.
2. Remember that there’s a person on the other end.
Email communication is digital so some can trick themselves into thinking that it can be approached with a cold and impersonal method. However, it is important to remember that social cues play a great role in appealing to your email recipient and ensuring that you will receive a response closer to what your desired outcome may be.
A greeting, followed by congratulatory praises and general well wishes are all part of establishing a tone that is both friendly and professional at once.
3. Timing is key.
A good sense of timing is the unsung hero of emailing. Acknowledge that there is a right time for everything and realize that 3:00 am on a weekend is hardly the right time to reach out to a professional contact.
Making make sure that emails are only sent within a reasonable timeframe helps establish boundaries between the work life and the personal life, and ensures that the recipient reads your message at a time when they are most productive and more likely to respond promptly.
4. Avoid sending to too many recipients.
Think about what your desired outcome is from this interaction and use that as your guide in selecting who your recipient or recipients are. Too many cooks spoil the broth, and too many recipients can be an ineffective way to communicate.
Not everyone is interested in reading email blasts in broadcast format. Some people feel that blast emails contain general information that might not necessarily pertain to them. The perfect business email is sent only to the relevant persons to achieve clarity and direct results.
5. Do not forget to send interim messages.
It does not hurt to keep people updated regarding an ongoing topic. If you anticipate long delays between sending highly anticipated items or you are experiencing a few hiccups in the work process, don’t hesitate to update your recipients with a quick email.
This is a great way to ensure that your recipient does not feel cut off from the conversation and continues to feel comfortable and confident with your business relationship and your work.
6. Be concise.
Once you’ve finished composing your message, trim your message down to what is relevant. Get to the point. The details you share should provide context and improve understanding of the subject.
Long-winded requests and explanations can result in a loss of focus and productivity for the recipient. If your email requires more than 2 paragraphs, planning a meeting or a phone call to discuss your subject may be a better option. If you must send a lengthy email, bullet points can be the best way to convey your message.
7. Maintain a professional tone.
The use of informal tone or ‘text speak’ is not suitable for business emails. While this may be less of a problem with old business contacts, this can ultimately become a habit that is hard to shake.
The danger with casual business email is that you may be shredding your reputation without realizing it. The recipient might continue to engage in the email conversation but then come away thinking that you are an unreliable or immature person. Digital business is still business so make sure you keep your email communication professional.
Regardless of how well written you think your email is, neglecting to proofread can result in error-prone emails that read as unprofessional and memorable for all the wrong reasons. Furthermore, mistakes can also cause the recipient to take you less seriously.
Watch out in particular for errors such as misspelling the name of the persons with whom you are corresponding with and basic grammatical errors.