I’d like to say you are awesome for reading this article today! I hope you find it not only insightful and useful!
Now how was that for a sample email? Boring? Predictable?
We are living in the year 2019 after all, you’d think that by now we would have dropped the boring scripts and change things up? Right? Here are a few of my observations throughout the year 2018 and some tips on how to shake your predictable email formats up that will not only make you memorable but stand out of the crowd. It’s time for a change!
There tends to be a general format we all follow but sometimes we forget who we are writing to.
Are you writing to a business? Are you applying for a job? Are you shooting a quick email to a friend, casual colleague or friend? Yes, your email format will change depending on who you are speaking with!
Step 1: The subject time
ALWAYS have information in the subject line, even better if the content is tempting….this text should prompt the reader to WANT to open the email.
Hints: Your subject line should always connect with the opening of your email, it should also summarise the email. Your subject line should also reflect what type of email it is.
Is it a reply? Is it a forwarded email? Does it include “next step” or “follow up”? Use abbreviations to your advantage. “Re” “FWD”.
Avoid: “Important! Read Immediately!!“ as this comes across very spammy and rather desperate.
Step 2: The greeting
Many of us wonder, how should we start a greeting? Believe it or not, most people struggle with this. To be frank, the winner is simple: “Hi”. When we use: “to whom it may concern” this person might think: “well, he or she did not personally address me, thus this email must not be important” and into the trash, your email goes!
Avoid: “To whom it may concern” and “Ma’am”
Why Ma’am? According to a poll from the New York Times not only did this term seems offensive in 2018, very little women really appreciate being called “ma’am” as it makes them feel old and slightly disrespectful.
More information here.
Step 3: The body
Don’t overdo the body!
Keep your email clear, short, simple, concise or you will lose your readers’ attention (are you still with me?). Keep in mind, most people receive over a 100 emails a day in today’s very much technologically driven world. Your reader should absolutely be scannable for gist!
Step 4: Closing
Do you sign off on your email using the trusty old “kind regards, yours faithfully, regards”? I’m sure you do!
Usually, when we send an email we expect action, correct? How do we get the reader to take action or follow instructions as per the email request?
The new trend is to close your email with: “thank you in advance”. How does “thank you in advance” work? Well, usually we only say thank you once an action has been completed. Now we thank the reading BEFORE he has completed the action which indirectly asks the reader to take action and you will thank him before he has done it which results in an expectation.
Remember to use your closing to summarise your email, this is your final opportunity to get your message across clearly.
Step 5: Tone
I can not say this enough, ALWAYS double check the way your tone comes across to the reader. Again, we live in 2019 which is now filled with emoticons. EVERYWHERE!
People don’t know how to survive without them! Heaven forbid we don’t use them, then people take offense and read your tone incorrectly. However, inserting an emoticon is not acceptable for a professional email.
Step 6: Proofread!
You can not go wrong with a good spell checker! First impressions last forever guys.
Please, I beg of you. Never ever send an email with bad grammar. Unfortunately, professionals absolutely judge and get a “first impression” based off an email.