Email tips for better communication

Chances are you sent one of the 235 billion business emails sent every day in 2018. Because of this, email tips for better communication can be helpful.  Electronic communication, whether it’s email, text, or social media, gives you an opportunity to bring positive attention to yourself.

On the other hand, know that a careless email misstep damages your credibility or potentially derails your career trajectory. What you share in your email is an extension of your great work. You want this communication to be positively memorable and career-boosting.

Good email etiquette is important but does not tell the entire story. Learn these six email tips to look good and increase your standing at work.

1. Figure out your company’s communication culture

Are you surprised that companies have a communication culture? They do, and the sooner you understand how important communication happens within your company and start using it to your advantage, the more influential you will become. This includes email.

2. Stay professional and gender-neutral

Think twice about using an emoticon, textspeak (“u” instead of you), or too many punctuation marks (!!!) n a business email. Women, be careful not to use minimizing language in both verbal and written communication. Revisit tip #1. If the movers and shakers in your company compose emails in a certain way, initially start with the accepted culture. Even if the emailing culture needs help, influence changes over time after you gain credibility and trust. Your smart, well-constructed emails will be positive differentiators.

3. Keep in mind emails are shared (and stored)

Are you comfortable if your recipients print, forward, or share your email with others? If you work for a company, the email system and other internal communication are company property. Please take your time to compose before you hit “send.” It may be better to postpone writing an email if you are irritated or emotional about the topic. Remember that your email will be found in someone’s “Saved” folder or retained in the company’s IT records. The last thing you want is to be associated with a widely-circulated, poorly-worded email.

4. Write well and with purpose

Email gives you many chances to make positive impressions with your coworkers and bosses. Writing is exclusively a human gift.  Write well and with purpose because exemplary business writing skills are in short supply these days. Keep your writing skills sharp to future-proof your career. This is a distinct opportunity for smart people to differentiate themselves.

Make sure you have a purpose when you write your emails. Thoughtfully craft what message you want to send. Is your email meant to inform, announce, or clarify? Is it meant to praise, chastise, or provoke thought? Your emails will be appreciated when they contain valuable information. 

5. Watch your intent

Writing emails with good intent will bring the right attention to yourself. Conversely, writing with bad intent elicits ill will. Here’s an example of a work scenario that happens often. Joe notices that his co-worker, Jane, may have caused a problem. Instead of approaching Jane directly to discuss, Joe emails Jane and copies her boss describing the problem. Joe’s bad intent is interpreted negatively by both Jane and her boss. 

Your readers actively and passively interpret your intentions from your email. If you’re not there in person to clarify, it is sometimes tricky to decipher your true meaning. Carefully chosen words, tone, positive intent, and correct spelling and grammar will leave positive impressions.

6. Sometimes it’s better to talk in person

It is easy to send an email instead of talking in person when a topic is controversial or heated. After all, your keyboard and screen are nonconfrontational. If you want to rise and be noticed in your company, get up off your chair and conduct a courageous conversation in person. Great leaders and co-workers know when to stop emailing and move to a face-to-face conversation.

Only write emails when you are level headed and logical. Many regretted emails are sent too quickly before agitation or negativity subside. Especially for complex or emotional conversations, email is not always the best communication method to get the outcome you desire.

It is safe to say that everyone in the business world sends and reads emails every single day. Email communication reaches nearly everyone in a company. Think of email as another tool in your work toolbox to help distinguish yourself from the crowd.

Connie Wedel is a US-based global HR executive, leadership coach, equal rights advocate, global citizen, writer, speaker, and mom. Her background includes working with businesses, leadership, and employees over 6 continents across various industries.

Connie holds an Executive Masters in HR Management from Cornell University. She maintains SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP certifications and teaches Organizational Behavior at the University of California, San Diego., She is periodic contributor Business Insider, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Ellevate Network.