Seven Steps to Email Excellence

As your first impression is important so is your correspondence over emails. In Business, emails makes up majority of daily communications. Used rightly, it can boost your perceived level of professionalism or it can harm your career. Recent cases of embarrassments to job loss has shown that care needs to be taken when using email as a means of communication in the workplace.


1. Start with a salutation. When sending a mail to a client, always start formally until a relationship is established. Continue to use salutations until the relationship is well established. Your email should be a reflection of the relationship you have with the recipient. However if you have a client that you refer to by first name, do not start using titles such as Mr. or Mrs. in your email.

2. Never write anything in a mail that would embarrass you. Emails are not as private as some people think. Never send or share an inappropriate email. Always keep in mind that emails can be saved, forwarded or shared without your knowledge. A good thing to remember when sending out emails is ‘can I post this on a bulletin board’? ‘is this email something that I would not be proud of if it comes out in the open’?

3. Take care when sending an emotional mail. When you are upset, frustrated or offended, try not to send the mail immediately. As tempting as it may seem; you could send an email you might regret later. Thus, wait and reply later. When you do, with a clear head you can re-read and decide whether the email is worth sending or you can decide how to rephrase your words should you still want to send it.

4. Your email is not your speech template: Long emails are unnecessary and most times aren’t direct. Overly long emails are boring and unprofessional. Try to keep your emails short and straight to the point. If your mail can't be written in a few sentence, pick up the phone and convey that information; instead of an email that loses the attention of your recipient or better still you can request a meeting.

5. Take care when sending attachments. Forgetting to send the attachment we indicated to send happens quite frequently or worse still, sending the wrong attachment. This is very unprofessional and should be avoided by double-checking that you have attached the file you indicated to send and if you did, that it is the right file.

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6. Take care when using the reply all button. Be careful using the ‘reply all’ button. It is annoying receiving emails that have nothing to do with you. If you intend to keep a number of people in the loop, then it is OK to use the 'reply all' button

7. Spell check, proof read always. It might seem that it is obvious to spell check or proof read your email, but it is unfortunate that emails with typos and grammar errors are still being sent. It is unprofessional and the only cure is to proof read your mail before sending every time. Many times these kinds of email are sent when there is a back and forth correspondence without proof-reading. It contributes to making people think of you as sloppy.  

Emails are 100% text, it can be easy to forget about the impression and tone you are leaving behind. Always read through your message before sending.

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