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
Do not worry at all! We all assume that a business email is just like a regular email but it is not, you need to make sure you format it correctly and it looks official. The most important part of business email especially to a boss or superior, or in this case large groups of people who are working on a project is tone. The way you use tone is the one thing your boss or whoever your email is sent to will read first, they can get a confused or angry tone. If this is the tone that is used it can be very offensive to a superior if they think this is your actual tone and misread your email. That is why were gonna fix it! According to this LinkedIn article there a few things you can do when sending a professional email, such as how not to sound like a know it all! Which is very important to not do that.
This all comes back to user-centered design for me, if that is something you are familiar with you should use it! If not, let me explain it is a certain type of writing style that is used to focus only on the person reading the article or email, so in this case that would be an email, the whole point you are writing is for the audience. So why not make sure they understand why your are writing and have to make sure they have a clear understanding on your tone, along with the context you are using. The purpose for writing needs to be clear, even though some people might have an idea of what you are writing about or for what reason, your email still needs to be professional and have the proper etiquette that an email needs. There are certain things you have to make sure you avoid while you are writing a professional email, this Article shows you the dos and dont’s when it comes to writing a professional email. It is a great place to start! It is almost like a for dummies book! which is a fun read and will help you start to understand how much tone and other variable effect a work email.
I have seen some pretty dumb things on email, and i have done some pretty dumb things on email, when i was younger me and my mother would always both be on the email chains for my sports teams. So causally back in I want to say 2013 i was playing lacrosse 5 times a week for the school then Saturday and Sunday for my club team. We got an email from my school coach about an early 7 am practice on Saturday morning, I had a long week with the school team and barely wanted to go to the 10 am practice for my club team on that same Saturday of the club practice, and after receiving the email about the practice at 7 am, I made a big mistake. Like normal I thought nothing of it, we got the email and I was replying to my mom, as i said i did not want to go to this practice, so start typing mom, “Mom I hate this team, we just had 5 straight practices and I am sick of some of the coaches may I please just skip this one time.” Send. Next thing i know i clicked reply all and all 40 players, 40 plus parents and all of my coaches saw this email. This was one of the most embarassing things that has ever happened to me, and from that point on I always, always make sure I only reply to one.
So do not even worry! We all make mistakes but we need to be more careful and make sure our tone is correct, and keep using email etiquette. A great Article on this type of etiquette and rules is displayed very well. Now do not be nervous and keep sending emails, just make sure they are sent the right way and sound the right way!