I don't know about you, but sending important work emails stresses me the f**k out. Here are 5 tips that I've learned for sending professional, well-worded emails.
1. Remove the Recipient's Email Address While You Type
There is nothing more stressful than accidentally sending an unfinished email. Every woman knows the feeling of hitting the "send" button by accident, when you really meant to change the font from grey to black. Save yourself the heartache and remove the recipient's address from the "To:" field while you compose your email. I like to paste the recipient's address at the very top of the body of my email so that I can easily copy and paste it into the appropriate field when the time comes, without worrying that I will prematurely send my email.
2. Match the Sender's Tone
Gauging how formal or informal to be with someone over email is tricky. Some people are very formal and will compose emails much like you would compose a letter: greeting, body, salutation, signature. Others will simply reply with a single-worded message: "Sure." So how do you navigate the swamp that is email etiquette? Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast answer. When in doubt, match the sender's tone.
If you receive an email written in a formal tone, respond in an equally formal tone. It may be that, as you familiarize yourself with each other, your email correspondence will take on a lighter, more informal tone. It may simply be that the sender prefers using a more traditional, formal email tone.
I've heard it said that the younger the person, the more informal their email tone. While this is often the case, air on the side of caution and compose your initial emails in a more formal tone. A good rule of thumb is to always begin by addressing the recipient of your email as "Mr." or "Ms.". If they respond by signing their email with their first name, then feel free to address your next correspondence as "Dear Jane" or "Jane -".
3. Be Concise
Get to the point. Avoid flowery language, run-on sentences and unnecessary wind-ups. A concise tone will allow your reader to digest your message quickly. You don't want to make your reader decode your email. Keep your sentences short. Use the active voice (i.e. "I introduced the client", versus "The client was introduced by me"). Be concise and clear in relaying your message.
4. Don't Justify
Stop using the word "just". Rid it from your vocabulary. You are a professional woman with an intelligent, informed opinion to share. Instead of writing, "I just wanted to follow up about the possible job opportunity with your company", write "I wanted to follow up about the job opportunity with your company". You do not need to justify yourself.
Proofread, proofread, proofread! Check to make sure that you have addressed your email to the correct person and used the correct title (when in doubt, use "Ms." over "Miss" or "Mrs."). Ensure that you have CC'd or BCC'd the correct email addresses and give your email a once over for spelling and grammar. If you struggle with proofing - or find that you become "blind" to your own mistakes after several read-throughs - print off a hard copy and edit it that way. And, when in doubt, remember that behind every great woman is another woman who proofread her email real quick when she had a second.
Good luck bossy ladies!