As a freelance professional email is (probably) your primary mode of communication, and as such you cannot afford to be lax or careless about your email habits.
A well written email can convey to the recipient that you are a professional and mean business!
Below are a few tips on how to write professional, successful emails.
- Set up an email account that you will use to communicate with your clients and your peers. Try and make your address as appropriate as possible i.e. your name, company name, area of expertise.
- Put your name and contact details in your email signature. This will come in handy if somebody forgets your phone number.
- Keep it simple. There is no need to use fonts that are difficult to read, and brightly coloured text and backgrounds are a no-no.
- Use an autoresponder if you will be away from your computer for more than 24 hours. Just be sure to turn it off again when you return!
- Respond to every email promptly. Set a policy of responding to all emails e.g. within 24/48 hours or within one working day.
- A proper greeting should never be omitted from your email, without one you run the risk of coming across as curt. A simple ‘hello’ will suffice in most cases
- Put a subject in the subject line. A quick glance and the recipient will know what your email is all about.
- Don’t “waffle”. Get to the point and do it quickly, but be careful not to make it too short either. There’s no need to write an essay either as you will only overwhelm the recipients. If what you want to convey in your email is getting too long or complicated just pick up the phone instead.
Grammar & Spelling:
- Never type an email in CAPS, this will make it look like YOU ARE SHOUTING! If you need to draw attention to something particular in your email underline it instead or type in bold. Another point is never, ever use txt spk, it has no place in any business correspondence and its impossible to read.
- Spell check your email before you send it. There is no excuse for poor spelling in your emails. All good email providers have a spell-checker and a quick click of a button will highlight any problems. If you want to be doubly sure, Google is your friend.
Mind your Manners:
- Tone is something that can be very easily misunderstood emails so be sure to polite and friendly. Always remember to say please and thank you.
- Don’t forward anything unprofessional i.e. anything sexual, racist, sexist, religious etc to your colleagues/clients. There is a time and a place for such things and the business world isn’t it. (This rule also applies to “Lolcats”, “FAIL” and “Demotivational” content.)
Before you send your email:
- Proof read your email. I find that reading out loud helps a lot. If it sounds too complicated or confusing trim it down a bit and take out any unnecessary content.
- Check out this post on Seth Godin’s blog before you send any email.
More great tips a nd tricks on email etiquette can be found in the following blogs:
- Lockergnome: 5 Tips for Email Etiquette Which Can Also Be Applied For Texting
- Freelance Folder: 7 tips For Making Email More Effective
- Men With Pens: Are Your Emails Coming Up Short?
- Ron Medlin: 3 Tips To Create Effective Email Subject Lines
What do you think? Have you come across any bad email etiquette or habits from your colleagues? Have you any tips of your own that you would like to share?