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Three Email Tips I Learned the Hard Way

Jason Dailey May 26, 2016

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I had a deadline, and I needed a response.

I was working in a hectic corporate office as a junior email admin, and there was more work than my small team could keep up with.

My pulse quickened as I saw two more requests appear in my console. They were requests to create two new email accounts – and they were priority requests. Priority requests needed to be completed the same day we received them.

I read both requests and noticed that each was missing the same piece of required information. My head began to hurt.

With a huff and a sigh, I impatiently typed an email asking for more information from the person who sent the requests – I’ll call him Robert. I felt a sense of entitled agitation as my mouse pointer pressed the Send button.

I continued slogging through the day’s workload.

After a couple of hours, I received a reply from Robert – a reply that raised my awareness about the importance of proper communication.

It turns out that Robert was the financial manager of his remote facility. He was also on close personal terms with our company’s CFO…great.

Mind your salutation

Robert’s email to me contained the following salutation, “Good afternoon Jason,”.

My original email to Robert didn’t have a salutation. It went straight to the point, bluntly: “You didn’t include your remote location code. I need it before I can hanled your requests.

I also had a typo (more on that in a minute).

Warm salutations can go a long way towards building positive relationships with other people. This goes both for intimate and business relationships.

Just like an informative subject line, a salutation is a courtesy. Take the time to do it. It’s worth it.

Mind your spelling and punctuation

You might send many emails every day, but every single one of them is a reflection of your communication skills and your professionalism.

Regarding the typo I mentioned earlier, I had misspelled the word “handle” because I was in a hurry and I didn’t proofread my email before sending it.

Once you click Send, there’s no going back. So, proofread your emails and use the spell check feature. It takes a few extra seconds, and it can prevent confusion for your email recipients.

Robert’s message to me

Robert corrected my subject line, salutation, and spelling in his reply to me. He also included the information I needed from him to complete his requests.

Fair enough. But, I sank in my chair as I read Robert’s closing words:

Jason, your email to me was unprofessional both in content and tone. It was beneath the professionalism expected in your position with this company as well as the professional respect my position has earned.

I felt like a child in elementary school getting reprimanded by the principal. Do yourself a favor and take your time when sending emails to avoid a similar embarrassment.

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