EMAILS – Friend or Foe

Remember snail mail, slow and expensive? Next, we had faxes. Fast, reliable, but still a two-step operation. Then came email. Not only cheap, but fast, easy, and could be done from your desk! What could go wrong? Plenty.

Email made its impact felt in both our personal and business life. However, it is just black letters on a white background. It shows no emotion, no body language, and most importantly – no tone for the message is present from the writer. Therein lies its short-comings. There are way too many points to cover everything now, but here are some basics.

How to Make Emails Your Friend

A good subject line increases the likelihood your email will actually be read. Does it entice the reader to open the email? Does the subject line reflect what’s in the body of the email? If you are sending your resume to an employer, what better subject line then, “5 Ways You Can Benefit from Hiring Me.”

The body of the email is where most people fall short. In a nutshell, emails should be kept short, spell and grammar check used, and key points structured separately for clarity. No run-on paragraphs. Emails should be short and easy to read. If necessary, use bullet points to increase clarity and readability.

Your email is a reflection on you, your professionalism, intelligence, and communication skills. Subconsciously, people grade you by your emails so put some effort into the quality of your message.

Emails are best kept short and relay information only. They should not be used for explanations, stories, or apologies. Since the reader will attempt to attach emotions and meaning to the email, as the writer you must use extreme care in the wording.

Finally, emails really shine when used as follow-ups to phone calls and face-to-face meetings. After a phone call or personal visit, a simple “Thank you for your time this afternoon” email goes a long way to raise you above your job-hunting competition.