Many of us do not take email writing a serious issue in our professional life. It is ok, if we are writing an email to our family or friends, but in business, email is the first impression we make on people before we start working with them. In my line of work, email writing is one of the difficult things I have ever imagined. It is a dilemma, but not the prisoners’ dilemma. The more you understand the art of email writing, the greatest time you spend writing them. It will take your time, but it’s worth writing an email that can inspire others. A good email shows both your professionalism and perfectionism.
1- Subject line
The foremost important thing in an email is the subject line. I have received many emails where the subject is irrelevant to the body of the email. Alternatively, it is too long and confusing, or many times, it is like the whole email in the subject. In order to protect and show your professional, you have to use a helpful subject line. It must be as short as 28 characters or less. It must be concise and interesting. It should attract the reader’s attention. Never leave the subject line blank. If you leave the subject line empty, your email will look a lot worse than everything else does. You seem a careless and confused person. However, if doing all these, still you have sent an email without a subject line. Resend it again shortly with a subject. In this case, you have two choices to make. One, sending an empty email following your previous email with a subject line, or resending everything again with a subject; preferably, the second is better than the first. Many people write confusing subject lines. Avoid vague subject lines. Do not include multiple subject lines, even if you are writing about several topics.
2- The opening
It does not matter whether you are responding or writing an email, you need to have a good opening. First, you need to understand to what extent the readers know you, or you know them. Do you write to inspire them or make them pay attention to certain things? Therefore, the opening of an email is very important. Many people just use the passive tense for the opening, which is not a preferable option to do so. You can start just by appreciation someone’s work or telling them a good news about the work. Always smile in your opening, even if you are sending an email to fire someone.
3- Respond to emails
Always respond to emails even if the problem is solved by phone or by other means. Sometimes, it happens that we have asked someone for something and then we received it, but we have forgotten to write them. It is very important in both professional and personal manner to respond and be the sender of the last email. You can take your time or respond promptly, but always consider replying emails. While responding to emails, never misaddress to someone irrelevant. If you reply to sender or all, limit your email to who really needs to know. Understand what To, CC and BCC means in your emails. If you are forwarding someone’s email, be sure that you have the right to do so, or be aware that the email does not contain sensitive information.
4- Be polite and positive
Always personalize the response. Understand the words and sentences you use in your email. Do not use slang language, or jargon, because, it shows your unprofessional. Be formal and on to the point. Make it possible for people to take action based on your email. Show gratitude and appreciation, but do not express extreme satisfaction. Try to solve the problem, even if it seems complicated. Your email must be clear and simple. It should not be intricate and obscure. Proofread your emails for mechanical and technical errors before sending them.
5- Write brief and simple
People do not read long emails. They will skim them even if they are very significant. Try to be brief and concise in your emails. Make it easy for people to read it and reply. Do not put a lot of information, which can make the readers confused. Write it on to the point. Do not use long sentences, break down a long sentence into a number of short sentences, write them formally, and free grammatical errors.
6- The big picture vs. the small picture in emails
Email writing is not only about the big picture, it is about both the small picture and the big picture. Lack of big picture makes you unprofessionalism, but lack of small picture will show your negligence.
- The big picture
Find the questions and reply them correctly. If the reader is asking you a question, you shall be able to answer it correctly without raising more questions on the topic. If you are trying to write about certain things, try to be very arranged and structured. Always conclude your email. Tell people shortly and briefly, what you want. Tell them why you are writing this email and what are you going to do after this? You need to have a clear understanding of the email and everything you are writing or talking about them. If the reader has sent a complicated email, first arranged the email and then write your answers clearly to the point. Check the statistics and figures. Never make a joke or funny in an email. It will destroy your relationship. Never send an email before thinking about it. Avoid inadvertently replying to all. Emails will be recorded, so be careful of anything you write in your emails. Backup your emails and be careful of phishing.
- The small picture
Once you are done with the big picture, fix the small picture. Check your email spelling and word usage. Think what the words you have used will mean to the reader. Does it make sense; is it too difficult to understand? You need to consider all these issues. Be well aware of the punctuation, if you do not punctuate correctly, you will confuse the reader. Write it concise, clear and brief. These things are part of the small picture you need to pay attention to them. Once you have checked the grammar and the punctuation always look from the perspective of the reader. Is it too polite or positive? Always be prepared to criticize your own emails, partition them and rewrite them.