I am a gamer.
In the gaming world, a noob is a player who’s been playing the game for a while but makes no progress in their skills.
Being one impacts your reputation.
The same thing can translate to writing emails as well. With emails being ubiquitous in the workplace, you want to avoid making basic mistakes.
Think about the embarrassment of writing an important email and forgetting the attachment. When pointed out, it feels like a punch in the gut.
In today’s post, I am going to share three errors I frequently made in writing emails and how you can avoid them.
Error 1: Emails with an unclear request
Ever got an email response that made you scratch your head and say, “That’s not what I was asking for!”
Or the receiver responds with, “I don’t understand the email.”
Or, worse, you get no reply.
The problem with these emails doesn’t lie with the receiver, but the fact that you didn’t have a clear call-to-action.
Call-to-action [CTA] is a marketing term for any device that is designed to elicit an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale.
The most common CTA you might be familiar with is “Add to Cart.”
In emails, a call-to-action then becomes the response you desire from the receiver. Some examples of email CTAs are:
- Can we schedule a meeting on Monday at 5 PM? I already checked your calendar for availability.
- Can you help me solve X?
- No action required just wanted to keep you informed.
You can write the email to explain the problem, give context, but then make sure you have a clear CTA in the end.
Error 2: Emails that are difficult to read
When writing emails, we type our message like we are trying to break the land speed record. (Currently 760 miles per hour! Whoa!)
Once we finish typing, we hit send.
How many times have we looked back on the message and realized grammatical errors and spelling mistakes?
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Take the last three emails you wrote and read them out loud.
(Thanks to being quarantined, you won’t have coworkers looking at your weirdly.)
- Did you get stuck at a particular sentence?
- Did you notice if your flow or tone was off?
We write many emails without checking how the message will read in the mind of the receiver.
That can lead to confusion.
To solve for this, read your email out-loud before hitting send.
It takes less than a minute but goes a long way to help the receiver understand your email.
Error 3: The dreaded no-file-attached
This one is the most embarrassing, “Hey X (dummy), you forgot to attach the file.”
I follow a simple ABC hack to avoid making this mistake:
- Attachment: The first thing to do is to insert the attachment.
- Body: Next, write the body of the email
- Caller: In the end, insert caller. Yes, I had to get creative here. By caller, I mean the receiver’s email address.
Like all systems, this one takes 4-5 times to incorporate in your routine, but after that, it becomes automatic.
Writing emails is analogous to gaming.
At the end of the day, like you get better at a game, you should get better at writings emails.
If you keep repeating the fundamental errors, then slowly, your reputation is going to take a hit.
With the strategies discussed here, you can sharpen your skills and avoid being an email noob.
So, which email strategy do you think you can implement right away?