No matter what your job title or level, business email writing skills can come in handy. And, even if they don’t seem too important where you are now, writing skills in general can make a big difference when it comes to moving ahead. And that includes your email!
So here are a few basic tips to help improve your writing, at least when it comes to business emails. Hopefully, these will get you on the “write” track.
5 tips for writing better business emails
Apart from taking the time to check your spelling and grammar, there are a few basics that can go far toward helping you improve your business email writing skills.
1. First, make sure the email is necessary
Simple as this one sounds, ask yourself if a quick call would do the trick instead. People get overwhelmed with needless email. And both reading email and responding to it take time. Then again, if it’s something where a paper trail will prove useful, by all means let the writing begin.
2. Keep it short
Again, people are busy. And they appreciate business emails that get to the point. Even if you have a story you want to share, keep that for another time. Or over a cup of coffee or drinks.
3. Clearly communicate with your audience
Think about who will be reading your words. And make sure you say it in a way someone other than you would understand. All too often people write from their understanding of the issue. And they forget to explain acronyms or conceptual shortcuts that are for sure obvious only to the writer.
But someone else might not quickly get things that seem obvious to you. Your goal is being fully understood, not showing off with lots of big words and technical concepts. These can leave the reader wondering exactly what you mean. Far too often, problems arise from communication that never gets received the way it was intended.
4. Provide the reader with a “roadmap”
The best business emails let you know right away why you are writing and where the email is heading. You don’t need to add suspense or creative writing techniques here. Just give the reader a clear, linear picture of what, why, how, where, and who as they apply.
5. Include action / follow-up steps
Unless you’re simply providing information, you should close your email with something about where this needs to go next. And make it clear if you need the reader’s input (to plan next steps or for whatever reason).
NOTE ABOUT SPELLING & GRAMMAR: When it comes to spelling and grammar checking, many email programs have them built in. Also, you can use your Word program or a free online resource. And, even if your boss is cool, please save texting lingo and slang for your non-business writing, ok?
A few more thoughts
Email comes with the temptation to be informal and even sloppy, letting basic writing rules go. But just remember that you leave an impression wherever you go. Even with your email.
So when bosses start thinking about who they want to promote — or who might be a good investment when it comes to advanced training — all the impressions you’ve left add to the picture. Being fun or cool doesn’t take the place of also having the skills you need to get ahead.
The good news is that you don’t have to be the best writer. But even a few simple tips applied to your professional communication can pay off down the road. So why not make an effort to improve your business email writing skills starting today? Even a little can make a big difference.
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