Dear 3040 and Beyond:
Help! I’m in big trouble at work. I just graduated from college and I’m leading a really big project. I want to impress my boss, but he says my emails confuse everyone and that I’m basically doing everything wrong. I was afraid to ask what that means. I have to send out lots of complex information to the people on the project every week, so I can’t help writing so much! Do you have any advice about how to write a great email?
New and Confused
Dear New and Confused,
Excellent job on graduating from college and moving up in the world! Life can be intimidating, landing that promotion, impressing the boss, leading projects, etc. I get where you are coming from and I understand just how hard the switch from college into the real world can be. But have no fear, it can be extremely simple to make your work emails more efficient and less problematic. In the past year I too started a new job. I was hired at a local startup to help with odd jobs around the office and to help create a database of clients and suppliers for the business. Initially my biggest concern was not with starting my job or figuring out how to create this database, but communicating with my boss and colleagues. I would be in a similar situation where I would ask my boss a question and his response would be “Thats a stupid question why didn’t you just google that?”
After the initial confusion with my boss I thought everyone at the office surely must be tired of me emailing them large amounts of detailed information, and they were. My friends outside of the office understood how this was starting to stress me out so they helped me find some literature about how to write the perfect workplace email and I never looked back. These first five steps helped to introduce me into how to write a perfect professional email.
- Begin with a professional greeting
- Thank the recipient
- State your purpose
- Add any “losing remarks”
- End with an appropriate and professional closing
These steps helped me to better stage and prepare my emails, but I was still having problems with the confusing content and the direction that my emails were supposed to take. So I sought some professional help from Brittney Helmrich, a Business News Daily Staff Writer. This article,15 Professional Email Tips has allowed me to “step my e-mail game up” and create a better working relationship with my boss. Her tips on how to manage your professional business persona helped me turn my struggling emails, into emails that helped other employees perform their jobs at a higher level. She offered advice on how to send a work email, who to send it to, creating different templates for various email types, and creating a professional business tone. I believe that the most important part of her advice was creating this authentic tone.
We as business writing students know that nothing else can screw up a post or email like writing without proper tone of voice. Communication is so vital and so necessarily precise in today’s world of business that failure is not an option. So we must make sure to heed the warnings and create a professional tone that we can rely on for all of our written communication needs, whether that be in the office or outside the workplace setting. Working within communication and tone of voice and tackling proper business etiquette is also easy. Business e-mail etiquette is a very important skill and one that is absolutely necessary in creating a positive tone of voice. Some of the most basic things we can do as business professionals is to write e-mails that replicate our professional behavior on the job. It is also important to understand the level of formality such an email requires, as well as being as thorough and prompt as possible when responding to very important or urgent messages. These are just a few of the tips that helped save me from a summer of embarrassment. I hope that you can put them to use.