8 Common Mistakes in Professional E-mail Communications
Working remotely nowadays is making e-mail communications more intense than before. But have you ever thought about if you have been doing it the right way? We might not put concern about e-mails if we are corresponding with our team or close colleagues because we have interacted with them directly, and we might already have our style of communications that we understand. But how about your superiors, clients, or partners that you only connect through e-mails most of the time? Here, we enlisted eight common mistakes people usually make in e-mail communications in the workplace. 1. Not paying attention to the subject line
Be clear of what you’re about to say in your e-mail. It will help the recipient to immediately understand the issue that you’re bringing up, and it will be easier for you to track the e-mail based on its subject later on as well. If it’s really urgent, adding marks such as ‘Urgent:’ or ‘Priority’ will also alert the recipient to check your e-mail immediately too. 2.Not addressing the recipient properly
Show respect to your recipient by mentioning their names on the greeting. If the recipients are more than one person, you can mention their division, or if they come from different divisions, you can still be polite by using salutations such as ‘Dear colleagues,’ ‘Dear team,’ or ‘Dear all,’. If you don’t know the recipient’s name, you can use their position in the company or ‘(Company Name) Representative’. 3. Being too personal
Sometimes adding a little bit of genuineness or personality in your e-mail might make the e-mail less awkward and friendlier, but don’t overdo it. Depending on whom you’re corresponding with, it is fine to add simple anecdotes such as mentioning the weather, congratulating an achievement, or wishing them health or a good rest. But hold yourself up from telling unnecessary jokes, talking about your personal problems, using too much emojis, or worse, talking about other people.
4. Not double-checking the attachment
Most of the time, we mention in the body email that we already attach something in the e-mail for the recipient to see—and most of the time, the attachment is just not there. Spare a few seconds to double-check if your attachments are successfully uploaded in the e-mail to avoid an awkward second e-mail saying you forgot to attach it. 5. Taking too long to reply
Replying to an e-mail within 24 hours is common etiquette. Even when the e-mail you receive is just an ‘FYI’ one, you can be polite by replying with a simple thank you. And if you need to review some other things before you reply, you can still reply to let them know that you’re working on it and you will get back to them as fast as you could. If you happen to miss the chance to reply immediately, simply apologize and explain your situation briefly in the following e-mail. However, don’t rush to reply as well, since it will risk you in making unnecessary mistakes.
6. Underestimating spacing, grammar, and punctuations
They are just commas, full stops, spellings, spaces, and what else? Is it that important? Yes, it is. E-mail texts without proper punctuations and basic grammar practice will make you look unprofessional and as if you’re not taking the recipient or the work seriously. Always do a final proofread before you send your e-mail. Even if it is short, spacing and paragraphs will make your e-mail easier and less wordy to read.
7. Not including a 'call to action'
Miscommunications often happen because of this. We are sending a proposal to get approval, but we just didn’t hear any response. Or we are sharing our pitch deck to ask for feedback, but we only receive a ‘thank you’. Always be clear at the end of the e-mail about what do you expect from the recipient. Use sentences like ‘Please kindly review and let me know if you approve the proposal or if you have any more suggestions...’ or ‘Would you mind taking a bit of your time to review this pitch and give me some honest feedback to improve it?’. And if you just send an ‘FYI’ e-mail, also say things like ‘Thank you for taking your time reading it’ or ‘I hope this may be of any help’. If you have a deadline or a designated time for a meeting, also be clear on mentioning the time that you needed their response by.
8. Not checking the recipient(s) properly
Even though you receive an e-mail from someone who cc-ed the email to 20 other people, it doesn’t mean you have to click the ‘reply all’ button. Unless it’s a topic that is followed by the team you know about, reply only to the person who sent you the e-mail.