In any professional setting, email is a very effective way to communicate. Email is efficient and fast. It is traceable and allows for time stamped documentation. It is also permanent. Although some email providers allow the sender to recall a message, recovering a sent email is not guaranteed. Therefor, careful consideration of email content is necessary to support integrity within your business and professional relationships.
1. Am I writing this email like a text?
Just like emailing in business, text messaging and instant messaging have become a primary mode of communication. Period. Most people use slang, abbreviated words and do not check spelling in texts and instant messages, as it is a casual way to communicate with your personal contacts. However, when it comes to business, proper grammar and spelling is necessary. It’s easy to slip into casual style conversation because you are typing and you probably type texts or instant messages more often than professional emails. Remember that any email for business purposes is usually regarded as official communication. Use spell check tools before sending.
2. Does everyone in the email need to see your response?
The “Reply All” option is a gift and a curse. Think twice before selecting that option. Replying to all recipients of an email can imply that every recipient needs to see your response. Replying to all unnecessarily can imply lack of discretion. If you see that you are blind copied on an email, replying to all is probably not advised. When replying to an email that has multiple recipients and all recipients need to see your response, by all means, select “reply all”. One on one conversations between two people do not need everyone’s inclusion.
3. Would you want your comments “on the record”?
There have been many top executives and political leaders coming under scrutiny for off colored comments sent in emails. Some of the comments are very unsettling and are now coming back to haunt them. If you don’t want the world to know how you really feel, do not send any offensive remarks in an email. Remember, emails are official documents and admissible as evidence in a court of law.
Email is one of the most efficient way to send and document dissemination of information. Keep in mind a few things before sending a business email or emails in a professional setting. Avoid using the same abbreviations and slang you would use in a text message or instant message. Use the “Reply All” function with caution. Avoid sending offensive commentary in an email, it may come back to haunt you.