Nothing is quite as cringe-inducing as a blatant mistake within a piece of business-related content. Not only is it embarrassing for the writer (and the readers), but making too many errors in your professional writing could land you in deep trouble with your boss, client, or both. So, in order to combat slapdash content everywhere and help you improve your writing skills, here’s the ultimate guide to writing emails and other work-related messages –– and avoid looking like an idiot in the process:
Keep Things Concise
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One of the best ways to minimize your potential for making any mistakes is to simply write less. In addition, long and tedious emails will likely bore your readers. If you find yourself meandering through a multi-paragraph manifesto, consider eliminating any tangents that aren’t essential to what you’re saying. Alternatively, if you simply can’t say everything you need to get across in one email, schedule a meeting or else explore an alternative medium. You don’t want your staff’s productivity to dip because of an unintelligible email.
Link When Necessary
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Sometimes, professionals are forced to write emails about subject matters that are hard to grasp. Introducing new products or obscure features to clients or green employees via email isn’t ideal, but you can still use several techniques to create more cogent emails in this instance. First, keep your writing focused and don’t wander off topic. Second, avoid technical terminology as much as possible. And when you do need to talk about industry-specific terms such as chemical reaction tubes, or PPC landing pages for example, include hyperlinks explaining what they are. In this way, you can use outside resources to enrich your piece –– without writing anything at all.
Keep Your Threads Separate
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Resist the temptation to throw new emails into old threads. You might think it’s easier to keep conversations within one chain, but in actuality, it gets exponentially more difficult to make sense of it all as you add more messages. More often than not, you’re better served starting an email fresh and keeping your topics separated.
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Here are five ways to all-but guarantee you’ll never make a glaring mistake in an important email ever again: 1. Write your email in a Word document first. 2. Walk away from the email for at least an hour (preferably longer). 3. Read the email out loud. 4. Get a friend to read the email. 5. Use short sentences with active voice. The majority of embarrassing typos are the result of people working under the pressure of a time-crunch. So more than anything else, it’s critical that you allow yourself the time necessary to compose a competent email.
Triple-Check the Subject and Recipients
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Making a blunder in the subject line is ten times more noticeable than making one in the body of your email. Furthermore, always make sure you’re only sending an email to those you intended. Otherwise, you could end up with some serious egg on your face.