In the course of a workday, I probably write over fifty emails. And I’ll be honest — I’m usually drafting more than one at a time while working on other things. I try to give my writing a good once-over, but it’s so easy to hit Send without taking the time to really review my text. I’ve noticed more than once that skipping this oh-so-important step has led to some regrettable typos and even a few embarrassing moments. Here’s a quick reminder of why email etiquette is key to keeping your professional reputation spotless.
You Never Know Who Might Be On The Other End
Keep in mind that although the intended recipient of an email may be a peer who is forgiving of email slip-ups, you never know when your correspondence is being forwarded to someone much higher up the food chain. Always assume your emails could be sent on to a supervisor or even an executive.
Maintain Your Reputation
It is not uncommon to have business relationships that only exist through your inbox. Keep your reputation spotless by being buttoned-up in your email exchanges. Error-free emails mean you are always exhibiting the utmost in professionalism. You never know where your next job offer might come from; someone who is currently a business associates could quickly turn into your next employer.
An Email Is Forever
Emails live on for years after they have been sent. I have emails in my inbox right now that are from an embarrassingly long time ago, but I still use them as reference on cyclical tasks. There is a unique permanence to the inbox, so don’t forget that an email can live on forever.
The Dreaded Blind Carbon Copy
Sometimes it can be difficult to put emotions aside when we are passionate about our work. Be sure to keep passive-aggressive and snide comments out of your communication at all times. In fact, if you find that typing your response makes you aggravated or angry, give your email a second or third read before pressing Send. Always assume that the one person you don’t want to read your email is BCC’d on it. You only have to make this mistake once to learn your lesson.
Remember, emails are an extension of yourself in the workplace, so it’s always best to put your best foot forward before sending them. A strong and confident digital impression will make your in-person conversations and interactions clearer and more efficient, so it’s worth the investment.
Before you hit send on any emails of high importance, pass them on to a trusted work friend or a professional proofreader for another set of eyes. This person can also identify any language or phrasing that reads with negative, aggressive or unintentionally autocratic tones. Think of them as your personal emergency editor.
Here’s a quick, printable guide on common grammar gaffes and how to prevent them:
Avoiding these everyday grammar errors at work only helps to bolster your credibility and establish you as an effective communicator. And no matter whether it’s via email, handwritten messages, or printed documents on company letterhead, effective communication can strengthen any business relationship.