What you need to know:
- The tone and tenor of an email are critical in communication.
- Don't use all upper case in typing your email.
The email is writ large in business communication. Email communication is deemed official in many business settings. However, people often underuse, overuse, or misuse email and fail to pass the message they intend to.
The tone and tenor of an email are critical in communication. It determines if your message will be read and if it is read, whether it will be understood and, if understood, whether it will be replied to.
While the tone of your message should reflect your relationship with the recipient, too much informality will dilute your message. It will make you come across as unprofessional. Be judicious in using exclamation points, emoticons, colored text, fancy fonts, and shorthand.
And don't use all upper case in typing your email. An all-caps message is a surefire way to irritate the recipient. An email in all uppercase letters connotes anger. These negative messages can cause unease long after the email has been sent and received – because the recipient can keep it and refer to it for eternity. Keep in mind that it is harder to read text in capital letters.
Always give your email a befitting subject line. Sending an email without a subject line could spell doom to your message—the recipient may not notice it tucked in an avalanche of other messages.
Your email host
A good subject line should precisely state what your email is about. When people glance at their inbox, they are more likely to act on an email if the subject line charms them.
Think about it as if you were writing a title of a book or a movie; wouldn't you give some thought and write an appealing heading that would get one to desire to know more?
How about the ubiquitous emoji — those little winking, smiling icons we add to our text and emails? They are inappropriate and unprofessional in a business email. Emoticons may divert emails to a spam filter or junk mailbox, and it can look unprofessional. Emojis are friendly and warm yet almost always undercut your professional outlook.
Be aware that your email host – such as Yahoo, Gmail – may give a wrong impression about you. Although many may disagree, some hiring managers are biased against certain email hosts.
Hosts such as Yahoo have a reputation of being laced with spam and not quite professional. Sticking with a Gmail account or other free non-subscription-based providers may be your best bet at portraying a respectable professional image.
And now my all-time pet peeve: If you're responding to an email sent out to a group, be sure you are only hitting 'reply all' if your reply is truly meant to be read by everyone on that email. Do not waste people's time by copying them on emails that do not concern them.
Wambugu is an Informatician. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @samwambugu2