Whether you’re a veteran in your industry or you’re a new grad, chances are you’ve made a business email error before—and you’ve experienced others making the same mistakes. While email may seem more trivial compared to your actual work, keep in mind that your business operations rest entirely on your ability to communicate with one another. When email etiquette rules are not followed, it can create more confusion and back-and-forth, and you can lose time and money in the process. As a result, it is critical to be sure that you’re not falling prey to these common email mistakes:
Not having a clear subject line
When you’re sending an email, your subject line will help the recipient understand more about the content of the email, as well as how they should prioritize this email. When the subject line isn’t clear, they may not understand how important their response is. As a result, it may take longer to get the response you need.
Tip: If your email is especially urgent, mark it as urgent before you send it!
Not being considerate of recipients
When there are multiple people involved in a conversation, it is easy to accidentally leave someone out that should be included. Similarly, it is easy to leave people on an email chain that should be taken off. When emails are being exchanged back-and-forth, it is critical to be mindful of everyone involved, as constant emails that aren’t relevant can be distracting. As a result, be sure to pay attention to who needs to be on an email. Additionally, use the “Reply All” function with discretion and only send your responses to those who need it.
While it may sound like an elementary mistake, it’s easy to accidentally misspell a word when typing. As a result, be sure that you read over your email before you send it. This will not only ensure that you avoid an embarrassing spelling or grammar issue, but it will also help you understand if your email provides enough clarity. If you struggle with spelling and grammar, check out free tools like Grammarly that can help you improve on the job.
Assuming everyone is in the loop
When sending an email, it is always better to explain more rather than less. While it is easy to assume that everyone is on the same page, this is usually never the case. To avoid more questions back-and-forth, taking the time to fully explain your decisions and ideas can ensure that everyone understands. Additionally, including more details means that everyone has your email written—and if there is confusion later, you can refer back to the written document for clarification.
Not getting to the point
While giving a thorough explanation is important, you want to be sure that you’re not rambling or including unnecessary information either. When everyone’s time is limited, be sure that the point of your email is clear and concise and that your recipient understands what they need to take away from it. As a result, the purpose of your email should be stated within the first 2 sentences.
Not outlining next steps
If you’re sending an email that requires action from others, it is essential to end your email with the next steps everyone should be taking. This provides, in writing, specifically what each person needs to take away from your email. When you add this to the end of your email, it is much more likely that you will get what you need from each recipient.
Sending emails when you’re angry
In any workplace, it’s easy to get frustrated when dealing with so many different types of people. However, if an email makes you upset, it is important that you wait to respond until you’ve cooled down. This not only allows you to solve the issue productively, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that text communication can often be construed in different ways.
Not turning on your out of office responses
When you’re unable to check your email, it is important that you be considerate of others who may need something from you. If you’re planning to be out of the office, turning on an auto-response is very beneficial to anyone trying to reach you. In addition to saying that you’re unavailable, be sure to include a point of contact that can help them while you’re away. This will allow anyone trying to get ahold of you to get what they need in a timely manner rather than waiting around for your reply.
Not using a signature
When sending an email, the use of a signature is critical to providing context to the recipient. In addition to your name, including your job title and company information can provide a framework for your email. Plus, this is where you’ll want to provide other means of contacting you, including a phone number and social media channels. This gives the reader a full set of information, should they need to get ahold of you.