Dear 3040 and Beyond:
I’m a new grad at a big firm and I think I’ve messed things up with my co-workers. They’ve been acting weird around me and my only office friend says I’ve been offending people in my emails. From my boss to my peers, it looks like I’ve made everyone mad. The thing is, I have no idea what kinds of stuff I could say in email that would piss people off! I’m a nice person and I haven’t had many problems like this before. Can you help?
In Hot Water
Dear Hot water.
You have come to the right place to deal with your issue. I for one am constantly emailing for my internship and I have definitely re read a few of them when it comes the end of the day when I am a little more tired and they come off with different meanings than what I would have initially intended. Just remember this isn’t the end of the world and is a great way to learn from your mistake. One of the most common problems with writing emails is making sure you are using the correct and appropriate tone of voice. Tone in writing is critical in every aspect but very important when writing emails, it can be so easy to just send it off without reading it completely through. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs it is so important to re read and adjust anything that may potentially come off in the wrong manner. I know it is hard especially when these emails are just going to people you know well but the more you do it the more the process will get imprinted in your brain not to just send it straight away. I’m going to help you out and I am hoping you will take these tips to heart.
Write what you have on your mind and make sure that the point you are trying to portray is being portrayed in its entirety. Again in another blog I have posted it gets easy to just write and get distracted so my first tip is to make a list before you start writing your email of the exact points you are trying to make. At this stage in the process it is okay for it to be a little messy and the tone not be perfect as long as you promise to re read and alter to the audience it is being sent. I think a good rule of thumb is to always act as if the email is being sent to your dean. You know who it is for the most part but yet you are still formal so if it ever gets forwarded anywhere it keeps your professional tone.
RE READ RE READ RE READ… This is going to be mentioned a million and one times in this blog till it is embedded in your brain. This is so critical especially when you don’t write it in the most perfect of manners the first time around. There have been so many instances in emails where I just loose track of what I am trying to say and I wouldn’t have ever caught it if I hadn’t had re read my work. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I COULD EVER ADVISE YOU ON!
Check the tone. Your tone as a writer can be so misinterpreted so it is so important to go through a different way than the re reading tip I gave earlier and make sure it is consistent and if anything ever sounds a little funky I would change it because if you the writer thinks that then someone else definitely thinks that. Ton can change something like break a leak like good luck to I hope you break your leg. It is so important that you watch for how things are hearing. There are so many technological advances in our days to get your text dictated back to you from your computer. If the email you are writing is make it or break it don’t just send the first draft do everything to make it perfect.
DO NOT SEND RIGHT AFTER TYPING. You haven’t given your brain enough time to hear through what you have written. This goes back to all the prior tips I gave but It truly is so important.
I hope these tips will help you break the ice with your work friends.