Five business email blunders you should NEVER do!
Emails have transformed the way we communicate, share data and do business. It is extremely quick, efficient and incredibly cheap to have a good email system. Unfortunately, people hide behind emails and waste your time, mess things up and even use it as record against you! Emails are great —and by all means use it to your advantage. Just be sure that you take some points from the notes below!
1. NEVER assume that your email is received or read.
Like me, I receive hundreds of emails every day, with loads of spam and rubbish stuff. I skip through and read what I want to read. If I do not reply one, consider it not received. That’s just the life of many business people, especially those in higher positions. Its not their fault, they just don’t have the time. Here is what you can do:
I. If it is your first email to the person, call them first and alert them of your coming email. Tell them of your email address and what to expect. Warn them it may end up in their spam, so that they can look out for it.
II. After you have sent it, call them and make sure they have received it. If it went into spam, encourage them to make your email a safe mail (not spam mail)
III. Ask for acknowledgment and request for action in your email (discussed below)
2. Never beat about the bush with your intro, and end with a ‘to do’
If it is a business email and a serious one, never start asking how their family or pets are doing, or which football team is winning, or which celebrity is expecting a baby! Get serious right with your first line. Create an urgent tone. Stay businesslike and formal. Keep it short and direct.
End your mail with a call to action, for example: “I would like to receive the document first thing tomorrow to sign before I go on vacation — please confirm that you can send it” or “Shall I get someone over to take a look at your connection before close of day today? “ Ending your emails with a call to action helps your recipient to act quickly.
3. Never hit ‘Send’ until you have read over your emails.
Remember emails are records and will work for or against you in case of trouble. Never write an email out of anger or when you have had too much beer, or when your girlfriend or husband is bugging you! Write business emails with a clear mind. Avoid informal greetings and language. If there is time, leave it for a moment, and read over again before you send it. This way, you save yourself from embarrassing mistakes, careless language and from sending wrong information. If you love using spell check, be careful that you agree with the options it gives you. Make sure you have the correct email address! The last thing you want to do is to send the wrong email to the wrong person!
4. Never appear “all-knowing” and “wiser than all”
Especially if it is your first email to a business prospective, it is great to sound confident and knowledgeable in your field, but do not cross the line and sound as if you are the one to show someone how to run their business. Some bosses genuinely need help in many areas of their operations, and would be happy to get help, but your first email has to be modest and at the same time, clear on the solutions you have. It can be a bit off-putting if someone emails you and tells you that you don’t know what you are doing! Heck! They are running a business and that alone should tell you that they are not dumb! Show some respect and make sure that you have got your head in, and established your position, before you attempt any ‘all-knowing’ attitude!
5. Never keep your emails obscured from other team members!
One good way to get results from emails is to CC other people (especially superiors to your recipients). I advice that you do this right from the word go, as it can look like you are trying to screw someone up by CC-ing their bosses down the line. If you get into this habit earlier, it will get to stay like that. I often receive replies where superiors’ emails have been taken off my original CC list. I always add them back in my replies, as I need to get them to understand that delays and in-actions are not from my end, but theirs!
Of course, as you get into real business with your email recipients, and all is smooth, and you have gotten to know a bit more, you can always, relax things a bit, but if I were you, I will always keep business — BUSINESS, and casual stuff casual. The two never mix!