There’s nothing more disheartening than badly written office correspondence. It’s poor form, unprofessional, and reflects that you shouldn’t have passed English 101.
Put as much thought in your office email as you would a Powerpoint presentation or a client presentation. Think of your email as your ‘virtual personality’ and project an image that is effective, knowledgeable and in control. Here are some tips.
Write to be understood
Avoid wordiness and pompous words. For example, ‘find attachment herewith’ is silly and grammatically incorrect; just give the file name and the purpose. For example: ‘I have attached the 2010 Marketing Budget. You may need the figures for your year-end report.’
If you have to send a long email, stick to one idea per paragraph so information could be grasped quickly and referred to easily.
Consider your audience
Identify your recipient and consider their needs and perspective. For example, does the email need a context? Your ad sales team may be wondering why they’re being copy-furnished on the minutes of Friday’s meeting. Give a context, and clear action points that are clearly within their job function. For example: ‘I am attaching the minutes because it contains plans for an event you can sell to advertisers. I need a shortlist on the clients you think will be interested in participating.’
Engage your reader.
Use simple, specific, and first-person words (I, you, we). It’s easier to understand and also established a ‘connection’ to your reader—he’s not a cog in the corporate machine, he’s a colleague.
Check spelling, grammar, punctuations, especially names, dates, or numbers before sending something out. Such mistakes may cost you dearly.
Types of Emails
Aside from the usual sharing of information and reports, you will also need to make these types of emails.
1. Internal announcements. These announcements present the chance to build good relationships and could also motivate others in achieving set goals. Information provided should always be clear so you will not be bombarded with questions later.
2. Positive announcements should be short, inviting, and direct. Show your desire to keep a personal or business relationship. It can also be used to build morale, confidence, loyalty, and goodwill.When announcing bad news, make a candid, no-nonsense statement with a considerate and respectful tone. Temper it with understanding and optimism.
3. Memorandum. A memo has a reputation of being the hardest business tool to write. Technically, it is a written document that stays within the company (if it goes outside, it’s a letter) and made to get someone to do or understand something. The best memos consist of two paragraphs, take up only a half page, and still convey complete facts. If that seems impossible, two pages should be tops. Limit paragraphs to five lines or less. If there’s more to say, it would be better to write a report.
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