Email has become the primary way to communicate with people in an office setting. In fact, many companies use email more often than face-to-face or phone conversations. With that said, it’s important to avoid behaviors that could potentially get you in hot water. Here’s how to avoid email blunders:
- Get to the point. Have you ever heard of BLUF? It’s known as: Bottom Line Up Front. Rather than writing your email like a story, with the context at the beginning and the request or action item at the end, put the key information on the very first line.
- Make your subject line descriptive. Blank or overly generic subject lines are annoying, and worse, they make it difficult for recipients to find your email by browsing their inbox. If the subject line is descriptive, recipients are more likely to open and read the email because they know exactly what it’s about.
- Answer questions inline. If you’re responding to a bunch of questions, insert your responses inline, and preface your answer with your name, like this: [Susan]. Following this format will help everyone understand what’s going on, especially in a lengthy thread.
- Don’t be afraid to change the subject line. You shouldn’t have to open a message to find out what’s inside. In a long email thread, the actual subject might change. When that happens, rename the message accordingly. Everyone will appreciate it.
- Format your emails. Do not type in all caps which implies shouting or emphasis. Conversely, typing your emails in all lower case give the perception of laziness. And stay away from fancy fonts: Use only standard fonts that are on all computers and easy to read.
Writing emails is one way to convey professionalism in your career. Learn additional methods with our Professional Presence, Image and Etiquette program.