May 08, 2017

Don’t Mess Up Your Email Communications

by Erin Johnson

For all the advancements in digital technology over the years, email has remained stubbornly constant and pervasive in our lives. According to some recent studies, about a quarter of all Americans check their email regularly throughout the day—from the moment they wake up until they go to sleep. People check their emails in bed, while watching movies, while sharing a meal with others, in the bathroom, on vacation, while working out, while driving… the list goes on and on.

But for its persistence in our work and everyday goings-on, and for its frequent importance, people can be startlingly care-free about email communications. And it makes some sense—firing off a casual response from your easy chair tends feel different than if you’re at your desk in your office. But often the implications and consequences of that message are the same.

Consider that 64 percent of people cite emails as a source of workplace confusion and resentment, according to a 2014 study. Why? Confusing or vague messages, too many Reply Alls, and lack of responsiveness from recipients were all cited as reasons.

For all of the effort we put into fostering good relationships with our customers and our coworkers, a stray email can set us back in ways we don’t intend. And while email communications might seem like second nature, it’s worth putting on that extra polish when the subject matter and the recipient are important.

Keep It focused.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to kill too many birds with one stone when sending an email. You’ve got several items you need to run by a colleague—may as well list them all, right?

Wrong! The firm Envato Tuts+ advocates use of the “one thing” rule when sending a professional email. “With business meetings, the more agenda items you work through, the more productive the meeting,” they note. “With emails, the opposite is true. The less you include in your emails, the better.” It’s much easier to lose track of something important in an email when it’s one item among several others requiring attention.
Etiquette isn’t enough.
It’s important to make sure your emails sound professional and courteous—but that’s not that simple. Clear communication greatly depends on who’s receiving the message. What is their personality like? Will they most likely be reading it at their desk? Via their phone and on the go? Do they check email often?

Consider these things when you’re sending an important email. “Know your audience” applies just as much here as any other marketing and communications efforts you pursue. 
Read it again.

Take a few extra seconds or minutes and read that email again before you hit send. There is almost certainly a small typo you might have missed. Make sure you have addressed it to the right names. All basic stuff—but all too easily forgotten.

How do you make sure your professional emails are clear and effective? Let me know at

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Posted: May 08, 2017 by Erin Johnson Filed under: communication, email, marketing