When your boss or professor finally gets out of that meeting or sits their butt down on the couch after a long day, the last thing they want is a complicated, emotional and senior-thesis-length email popping up in their inbox.
To avoid being dragged straight to the trash icon, you might want to keep these 3 simple tips in mind:
TIP #1: Keep it clear and concise
These words may haunt you for all eternity, but they’re truer than fedoras always being a mistake. You might as well suck it up and let the words “clear and concise” become a part of your DNA.
When writing a professional email, you must have one goal in mind. Whether you’re wanting clarification on a homework assignment or giving notes for tomorrow’s meeting, you have to say so…fast.
If your boss doesn’t know what you want or have to say within the first paragraph of your email, hand in your resignation now.
To be clear and concise, you need to be brief. State the who-what-when-where-why-how as soon as possible. If you want a response at their “earliest convenience,” your correspondence should be convenient too. Mister CEO should be able to read your email in the time it takes to brush his teeth or make a copy while totally checking out his secretary Rebecca at the next desk over.
TIP #2: Stay away from sweet introductions
Your boss doesn’t care that you’re concerned about his puppy who had knee surgery last week because he fell off the couch while trying to steal his dad’s waffle. He isn’t going to write you back with the vet’s notes, diagnosis and treatment plan.
It’s best to say your hellos then dive right into the point of your email. While staying clear of long introductions, you might as well throw away your conclusion as well.
Your boss knows she’s going to see you at work tomorrow, even if she doesn’t really care either way. You don’t need to waste your time and energy writing about how excited you are to see her tomorrow and how many great things you’re going to accomplish together. Save that for — yes — tomorrow.
Furthermore, if people swear by hating small talk and discussing the weather, they hate email fluff even more. Sentences don’t need a “I was just wondering…” or “Considering the last time we spoke…” Take yourself out of your email and cut to the chase.
TIP #3: Avoid being too casual or too formal
You’re probably never going to write an email to the queen or homeless person living under a bridge.
You want you use the simplest words and decrease the amount of adjectives and super long words in your emails. Emails are the last place to show off your fancy vocabulary. Spit it out, and go on with your day.
All these tips really go hand-in-hand because they all have to do with being simple, clear and straightforward. You’re on your way to a promotion if you keep these few things in mind.
For more information about writing professional emails, please visit https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-write-and-send-professional-email-messages-2061892 and https://www.city.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/234354/Writing-Professional-Emails.pdf.