Email is now established itself as one of the preferred communication tools of business. Over 190 billion emails are sent worldwide per day, and that figure is growing year on year.
Despite many of us sending emails every day, very few people have received any training on how to get the right message across in an email.
In theory it’s simple. Just write what you’d like to say to someone in the email body and put a few words into the subject box to describe the message. Easy right?
Well, if we weren’t such sensitive, social beings it would be that simple. However, normally during a conversation we rely on subtle body language cues and voice tone etc. which aren’t there in an email.
Have you ever received an email from your boss which just read “please come to my office, 1pm.”? Your mind starts racing and you start to panic, thoughts of being in trouble for something fill your head, but it turns out to just be a chat about some pretty typical work topic. Chances are, your boss never realised that their email subject might have that effect. In their head it made perfect sense. However little did they know the anxiety it caused you.
Here are five tips on how to improve your email interactions and make people look forward to your emails landing in their inbox.
1. Use positive subjects
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, an email from your boss with the subject “please come to my office, 1pm.” will likely trigger anxiety in the recipient. Imagine receiving an email from your husband or wife with the subject “Jimmy had an accident”, you open it with your heart in your mouth only to realise your little boy had wet himself at school.
By keeping your subjects positive, people with begin to associate your name in their inbox with positive words. Subject such as “Looking forward to our meeting” or “great day to discuss that report” instantly instill warm feelings in the recipient. Pretty soon, people will look forward to receiving your next email.
2. Start personal
When receiving and email, it’s never fun to read lines and lines of work based requests with an impersonal tone. We get no warm feelings from work.
Start your emails off with something personal, this is a sure fire way to get their attention and make your communications much more enjoyable.
How about “Hope you had a good weekend. Did you do anything fun?” or “I heard you got promoted. Congrats! going out for a few drinks to celebrate?”.
3. Remove the ego
This is such an easy tip to implement, there’s no excuse for using it in every email.
Sometimes we can forget that it’s not all about us. We might not even notice the extent that we use the word ‘I’, but the recipients of our emails can.
Take the following paragraph as an example:
I’d like to arrange a meeting today. I liked the presentation you did and if it’s okay I’d like to take it further”
See the difference it makes when you remove some of the I’s:
Would like to arrange a meeting today. Liked the presentation you did and if it’s okay I’d like to take it further”
4. Sarcasm doesn’t work
This is one of the more widely known tips for effective email communication, yet it is still often overlooked. It’s so easy to assume that our joke is so obvious that we can get away with it occasionally. I’ve been guilty myself of numerous occasions. Sarcasm can come across as rudeness, so however tempted you may be to slip in some comical sarcasm, just don’t. If you absolutely must, then for the love of god use a smiley, you utter moron
5. Offer your support
Not in an emotional sense. Not unless they have brought up the fact that their beloved kitty has passed away under the wheels of a 4×4.
Simply put “If there’s anything else I can do, please feel free to contact me.” This immediately instills in their mind that you are not at all put out by their request.
The best bit is that they never, ever take you up on this. Only if they would have anyway. It’s simply a sentence that paints you in a positive, more helpful light.