When you send out an email it represents who you are professionally. Sometimes it’s your chance at making a first impression, other times it is your communication as you service existing clients. But whatever the end goal of the email is, you should make sure that your email reflects that you are an educated, professional person. As a Virtual Assistant, when I handle client emails I'm very careful to make sure that I do so professionally. Here are some tips (in no particular order) that I follow and will help you stand out from the amateurs.
1. Don’t use Emojis with just anyone. What do you mean, Yesenia? I’ve heard I should NEVER use these! Well, that depends really on who you are sending your email to and where in your email you are putting it. Using emojis in subject lines of emails is a fairly recent thing some companies are doing to make their email stand out from the rest that are in your inbox. However, that works mostly for sales emails. What about in the body of your email? While you should never ever use these when sending email to your boss, with some other people it may well be acceptable. For example, most millennials are okay with it and even encourage the use of emojis as they feel these help reflect their personality and feelings. Meanwhile if you are sending an email to a Gen X or Baby Boomer, emojis will most likely make your email be perceived as coming from an amateur. So how can you tell when it’s okay to use? One way is to steer clear of them until the other party uses one first. Then you will know you will be communicating with them in a fashion they are used to and find acceptable. After all, it’s important to always adapt your message to your audience.
2. Do not hit send until you’ve checked your spelling and grammar. We all make typos, spelling and grammar mistakes. But you’d be surprised how many times these can cause you to miss out on opportunities. For example, if you are sending an email to apply for a job (especially if the job description states they are looking for a detail oriented person) but your email has errors, you can bet you just made a negative first impression. Even when you communicate with others, such as clients, on a regular basis but don’t use proper form, you can come off as lazy and/or unprofessional. Always dress your emails to the nines by using free apps such as Grammarly, which will automatically check words as you write them and suggest corrections. Most of us aren't grammar experts but it's easy to avoid careless and very noticeable mistakes. There really is no excuse when you can quickly install something for free that will automatically check things for you.
3. Don’t discuss anything private you wouldn’t want other eyes to see. You’ve heard the nightmare stories of private emails going public. Before sending an email, ask yourself if the topic is more suitable for another, more private form of communication. If you wouldn’t write your email on company letterhead and not be bothered by absolutely everyone in your company or on the internet ever seeing it, then don’t write it in email. Anything private should be discussed in person or on the phone, but never in writing on the internet, no matter how great you think your firewall is. Especially in the corporate world where your email is most likely supervised, don’t ever write anything you don’t want others to see. Also, don’t ever apply for another job through your current work email. You have a brain, use it!
4. Do not send email typed in all caps. In the virtual world, all caps is like you are screaming. This kind of goes hand in hand with checking your email before you send it out for proper grammar. Make sure only the right words are capitalized and while you’re at it, don’t abuse the exclamation point either. You don’t want the receiving end to think you are angry or are being lazy again.
5. Be clear in your subject line and keep the email as short and to the point as possible. Believe it or not, email is supposed to help us all save time. It avoids traveling to places to talk to people and helps us quickly send documents and other attachments in the virtual world. This means that in the interest of being productive, there’s no need for unnecessarily long, unclear or confusing emails. You should respect the recipient’s time by being very clear and as to the point as possible while being polite. If you don’t need a reply, then state in your email: “No need to reply.” This will also help avoid some of that unnecessary email clutter you have going on in your inbox.
6. When sending heavy email attachments insert them from an online drive. This can avoid issues for the recipient, as not everyone has the available space in their email to receive heavy attachments. It also helps make the attachments available to them no matter where they are. And, if you use Dropbox or Google Drive you can give the person access without having to send a separate email alerting them. You can decide how much access they have, whether they can simply view, comment or even edit the attachments. It can’t get easier than that!
There are so many more tips! However, I know not everyone likes to spend their day buried in emails so a Virtual Assistant is a great solution for handling them. It's no surprise really that email management is one of my top Virtual Assistant services. If you are having a hard time keeping up with the emails in your inbox or need help sending out emails please feel free to contact me. As a Virtual Assistant I make sure emails are handled in the most professional manner, ensuring you provide your clients with excellent service and build and maintain a great reputation online.
Leave your comments below on any tips you use for composing professional emails. We really love the feedback.