As our main mode of communicating, you'll want to brush up on these best practices to save time and energy.
When you’re starting to feel the pressure of the email piling up in your inbox, it’s easy for mistakes to happen. We’ve all been there: misspelling someone’s name, sending an email to the wrong person or having way too many embarrassing typos.
We often get so busy that we don’t take the time to proofread or edit our emails. But the same as with a cover letter that’s riddled with grammatical errors, the receiver may not be as forgiving. This is especially important to note for the client-facing staff or business development roles. If you’re a company that’s supposed to pay attention to detail, committing common email offenses could be read as careless.
It may not sound like that big of a deal, but since email is a preferred way of communicating in the workplace, it’s worth it to implement and pay attention to best practices. Here are seven annoying email habits that leaders need to nip in the bud.
1. Forgetting to include a signature.
There’s nothing more annoying than getting to the end of an email and realizing the sender forgot to add their phone number or address. Or they’ve changed offices or extension numbers but haven’t updated their signatures. Take a look at yours and make sure it’s current.
2. Spell check, spell check, spell check.
I can’t count how many times I’ve received an email from a colleague littered with typos and grammatical errors. Take 30 seconds after drafting your email to look it over. I love the platform Grammarly; it’s great at catching those errors that are easily missed.
3. Space it out.
Have you ever opened an email, only to be hit with a wall of text? It can make it difficult to pull out the necessary information. I find it helpful when writing emails to use some simple formatting methods like short paragraphs and bullet points.
If you really can’t condense your message to three paragraphs or less, set up a call. You’ll save both you and the receiver a ton of valuable time.
4. Subject lines that don’t make sense.
I should be able to tell what an email is about just by reading the subject line. Too often, I see vague or irrelevant subject lines. Always make sure the subject line matches the content of the email, or colleagues may not open it or get confused while reading it.
5. Overusing the Reply All button.
I see a lot of leaders who want to be carbon-copied on every email. Who has the time? Don’t make things harder for yourself. Trust your staff to make decisions without your watchful eye always present.
I’ve made it a rule to only include people on an email if it’s crucial information for them. Otherwise, both they and I are not interested.
6. The medium is the message.
I love a sleepy face emoji as much as the next person, but there is a time and a place — and that shouldn’t include the office inbox. This also goes for those emails that are critical, speak negatively about others, or touch on sensitive issues that could be misinterpreted.
If you have an issue with a colleague, it should always be addressed in person. Emails can be received far more harshly than they’re intended to be because there are no nonverbal cues. Plus, you never know if that email will be forwarded to others, causing a slew of other issues within the team.
7. Reply in a timely fashion.
Everyone gets busy or overwhelmed at times, and sometimes responding to emails gets pushed down the to-do list. If you find you don’t have the time to respond immediately, it can help to simply send an acknowledgment of the email and let them know when you will get back to them. No one wants to feel ignored.
Email is a great resource, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Help create a more productive workplace by thinking twice before you press that Send button. Not only will your co-workers appreciate it, but you’ll also improve your productivity.