Emails. They're constant. They're automated. They're selling, they're telling, they're asking, and there seems to be no end in sight. Emails have come to stay as the main form of communication—particularly in the workplace. But when the average employee sends or receives over 120 emails per day, how do you make your email standout?
Here are my tips on how to email like a boss.
1. Are you doing well?
I'm sure you really don't care if the person is "doing well," or "enjoying their Friday." I know I usually don't. But instead of being direct and personal, I often rely on these introductory crutches to get the conversation going. I'm guilty of this. You're guilty of this. But if we all focus, we can cut the clutter. Your introduction should match your relationship. If you've been emailing someone for a while (we're talking month), it's probably safe to move beyond, "how you doin?" (say it like Joey from Friends) to a more personalized approach. You should have by now have picked up some tidbits of information that you can use in your emails. Know where they went to college? Great! Did their team win over the weekend? Mention it! Personalizations don't have to be profound, but they do need to be purposeful. If this all sounds a bit saleman-y...that's okay. Every email is an opportunity to create a selling point and build trust. You're crafting a product with each email—and that product is you.
2. I think I can. I think I can.
I think I can, I think I can may be good for a story book on confidence, but it doesn't help your case when writing an email. One time I went back and read a long email only to find multiple uses of the word, "think" littered throughout the text. On a cursory read, it may sound fine, but when you slow down and re-read the email (and if it's an important email it will probably get forwarded and shared multiple times), you'll discover that too many "I thinks" leave the document sounding unconvincing. If you're an authority on a topic, then own it. If red is the best color to use based on your knowledge and experience, then tell the client straight up, "Red is the best color for this application." If they want to know why, then they may ask you to explain your reasoning. Explaining your reasoning is never a bad thing. However, writing, "I think red..." immediately opens to the door to alternative views on the subject. And while we're at it, let's strike the word "just," too. It's often a filler word with no real purpose. The tighter the sentence, the stronger it reads.
3. Some things are better left unsaid.
But not when it comes to emails. Not saying what you really mean can have huge implications when it comes to emailing. Why? Because emails are devoid of tone and context. If you're thinking to yourself, "Do I need to explain this better?" you probably do. And this applies not only to the actual wording, but to the content itself. When writing emails—particularly to clients—there's a good chance that the receiver has a cursory knowledge of what you do, but they may not have a full grasp when it comes to the nuances of your industry. Are you both using correct terminology? Are you both being literal in your specifics? As a web designer, I often have to clarify with clients their meaning of the word "website". Are they referring to a landing page, a full website, e-commerce, an etsy store, a facebook page? I've found that clarity and correction can go hand-in-hand and go a long way in both educating clients and making sure we're all on the same page.