In 1839, Edward Bulwer-Lytton said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” More than 180 years later, it’s still true.
Yet, written communication is such commonplace these days that sometimes we forget the impact our words can have. In the fast-paced digital age where we’re used to receiving hundreds of emails a day, they can start to feel mistakenly informal.
But, in the business world, that’s a big mistake.
As the change in our culture continues to push and pull the topic of language and conversation, there are still rules you should abide by when communicating through email. We’ve talked about these in past presentations (available on Skillshare), but below are some highlights.
5 Tips for Better Email Writing
- Use Professional Content – In the corporate landscape, regardless of your relationship with the recipient, it’s important to remain professional. Keep your sentences clear (jokes rarely land in written form), informational and avoid “social media verbiage” such as emojis and acronyms/shorthand like TTYL.
- Get to the Point – The world is busy and given that everyone receives so many emails a day, it’s important to grab your reader right from the start. We’ve talked about ways to keep a client’s attention before, but it’s especially important in email writing to jump into the action.
- Keep It Short – Along the same lines, emails are meant to be scannable. They should stay focused on one topic and use short sentences and paragraphs.
- Proofread – People tend to write and send emails so quickly you’d think someone was giving out prizes for fastest reply, but SLOW DOWN! Make sure what you’re saying is what you mean to say. And, we beg you, spellcheck – and that includes spelling the recipient’s name right (we’re not kidding; we see this error so often it’s staggering).
- Read the Email Out Loud – Yes. We want you to proofread again. For one, spellcheck won’t catch everything (remember this blog and this one). Further, reading your writing out loud helps you hear common pitfalls like repeated words, lengthy sentences and improper tone.
These aren’t the only areas to watch out for when writing emails, but they are the ones that can make a difference in the professionalism and success of an email. Your words can clinch a deal, start a potential client relationship or open up a whole new networking channel to explore.
It’s important, so don’t mess it up – and remember the CCS writing team is always available to help with any of your (email) writing needs!
Don’t be sad. We’ll be back on the first Monday next month with a new blog post. If you can’t wait that long – whether because you have a topic you’d love us to cover, a question or you simply want to throw your two cents into the pot – we love talkin’ shop, so drop us a line.