Do Your Emails Suck?

They might if you ignore the reality that every note you send a customer, colleague or manager can project your image of professionalism, competency and courtesy — or detract from it.  So, if you don’t want your emails to suck, just avoid these worst practices:

  • Not asking if everyone on a large distribution list really needs or wants to see this message.
  • Retaining long strings of email addresses that precede your actual message.
  • Using an ineffective subject line like ‘Report’ or, even worse, ‘no subject
  • Writing long, rambling sentences and paragraphs with multiple key points that make your message difficult to read and digest in a hurry.
  • Using ALL CAPS or all lower case in stead of proper capitalization.
  • Including humor, sarcasm or slang that can be taken out of context, misinterpreted or appear unprofessional.
  • Not using white space, bullets, sub-heads  or other text breakers to make it easier for people to read your message … in a hurry. Especially on their phones.
  • Sounding too formal or stuffy with a message that should be more casual and conversational.
  • Attaching very long documents that could easily get caught in spam or security filters.

They definitely will if you:

  • Use ‘cc’ that displays a long distribution list instead of concealing the names with a ‘bcc’.
  • Don’t keep it short and simple so the whole message can fit in a single screen without scrolling down.
  • Send your response to everyone because you hit ‘Reply All’ instead of ‘Reply to Sender’.
  • Begin them with ‘Dear Bob … ‘ instead of simply ‘Bob … ‘.
  • Don’t proofread beyond auto-spell check and actually read your message twice before sending it.
  • Fail to determine if an email is the best method for solving this particular communication need with this person or group and better than a text, phone call or face to face chat. Or, doing nothing.

So, there you go — simple techniques to help you project a more positive, professional and courteous image and create emails that don’t suck. Your readers will notice and definitely appreciate the difference.