What are the emails to avoid? It can be difficult to get used to our “new normal” as we stare into screens all day for work and pleasure but there are some emails we shouldn’t use.
- Be clear and concise
- Be polite
- Own your actions
Passive Aggressive Response
It is not necessary – although it can feel very satisfying in the moment – to reply, “as in my previous email…” It hurts relationships. If you’re establishing boundaries, you can do so in a strong manner without being offensive or passive aggressive.
So how do you word something so that no one is offended, while still getting your point across? The first thing you need to do is get a feel for your company’s corporate culture – both how it is now and how you want it to be in the future. Then, be sure you’re not raging angrily at the recipient.
Next, use neutral language. Rather than suggesting someone should have already behaved in a certain way, in a negative tone or manner, be simple, clear, and concise. Simple, in that you should be direct if it’s called for, but also can be polite and continue to reinforce the corporate culture saying everyone should be respected. Clear in that you want to make sure your message is coming across with minimal effort. And concise, in that you want to eliminate unnecessary bulk.
Book Length Emails
Nobody has the time these days to read a treatise in an email. If you’re engaging in extraordinarily long emails and you expect them to be read, you’ll likely be disappointed. When faced with a wall of text, many, many people will skim. What does that mean for you? It means that’s it’s possible that your message will be diluted or lost entirely.
Why would your message by lost in a long email? Too long an email gives readers too many opportunities to wander away – in their thoughts and in their attention. And an email that requires action may not produce the desired result. So make sure you know what you’re asking for, and be clear and concise when asking for it.
Be certain of your messaging. Be clear in your beginning, middle, and end. Be concise in your request. If you don’t know what you’re trying to say, it will be impossible for you to reach anyone, no matter how long your email is.
Call to Action-less Emails
If your email is not a simple, clear, and concise piece of mail with a simple premise, a clear call to action, and a concise askm you won’t be able to connect effectively with your audience. The single most effective rule for email is the single most important rule for all communication, and that is, know what you’re trying to say, and whom you’re trying to reach.
Without question, if you are unclear in your intent, you won’t be clear in your statement, request, or communication as a whole. Know what your message is, and you’re more likely to be clear in your entire email. Be certain, as well that your messaging is most effectively delivered by email. If you can’t explain yourself well and clearly, maybe you should pick up the phone and call.
If you are reaching out to multiple people, clearly state who needs to respond to you, and CC whomever doesn’t need to, rather than emailing in the “To” field. That way you’re clearly indicating the need you have. Eliminate emailing people you might need to reprimand if it’s a conversation that might be better had in person or via phone. Treat other people with respect and courtesy.
Emails to Avoid
There are possibly additional email types you may choose to avoid, but these three will take you far. Knowing when to avoid writing, what topics might require additional sensitivity and which are acceptable to deal with, and writing to others in a respectful manner can help you treat email as a tool, and not as a necessarily distant requirement.
It can be enough to know what you’re looking for in response to an email, what your main goal is, and what you want to accomplish. You can reach across to those you work with, whether you need something or not, and make sure you’re using your words wisely.