10 Common mistakes you should avoid in the email era
Updated: Nov 17, 2022
Emails have managed to become one of the most essential forms of communication in today’s world. Every business person is required to have an email address that is used for communicating within as well as outside their company.
And hey, emails are probably the only communication media that do not let the sender know that you have “seen” their messages. There is no pressure to reply. But let’s not take advantage of this feature and be good people by replying when necessary.
Emails are simply words put together and sent via the internet. They do not show the sender’s face, voice, tone, and everything else that is a part of their personality. This is why it is extremely important to draft a professional email. Such emails speak volumes about the sender. While it is really easy to draft and send an email, it is equally important to avoid mistakes while doing so. Here are some of the most common ones.
1. Forgetting to add a Subject Line
A deciding factor of clicking on an email is the subject line. More importantly, a good subject line makes the recipients decide whether they want to open an email or not. One cannot afford to forget adding a subject line.
According to HubSpot, 35% of recipients open their emails based on this factor alone. If you are confused about what your subject line should be, try to find a suitable one online by paraphrasing the content in Google Search. But please (yes, we’re requesting you), never forget to add a subject line.
2. Not greeting the recipient
Imagine you are approached by a person. Instead of greeting you with a “Hi” or “Hello”, they get straight to the point. This does not sound very pleasant, does it? Our parents have always taught us to greet the people we meet. Let’s inculcate this habit in our emails as well. A simple “Hello Ben, hope you are well” can go a long way. It helps build a personal connection with the recipient. It is recommended to use the same name that the recipient uses to sign off.
3. Being too formal or too informal
A professional email calls for being formal. But do extremely formal emails convey actual messages? Being very formal can make it look like the sender is a robot. This is not the impression you want to create. “Dear respected Sir” is unnecessary. Going a little easy on formality can help you connect with the recipient better. It can help bring a personal touch to the email.
That being said, being too informal is a strict no-no. You should neither talk about your personal life nor ask about theirs. Being too friendly can make you look unprofessional. Make sure you touch slight informality only when you have been in contact with the sender for a considerable period. An Email should be a carefully curated mixture of formality as well as informality.
4. Using emojis
Emojis or emoticons are undoubtedly the most important online communication factors. While these are extensively used on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, it is important to note that these are considered unprofessional in emails. Emails are most often used for business purposes. These conversations do not need to be very expressive. They need to be brief and informative. Hence it is highly advisable to avoid using emoticons while drafting emails. (Yes, this is a disappointing one. (sad face emoticon))
5. Using different fonts
Consistency is key. This phrase fits in everywhere. An email has to look neat. It should make the recipient want to read it. Using different fonts for different paragraphs would make this a difficult task. Maintain the same font style and size throughout all your mails. It is also important that you use fonts like Arial, Trebuchet MS, or Verdana and avoid creative fonts like Comic Sans. The former are web safe, default fonts that are found on all computers.
6. Forgetting to end your email
The reader has to know where the email ends. This is why it is essential that you end your emails with a simple “Thank you, name” or “Regards, name”. If you think this might be difficult to remember each time, turn the signature option on. This helps you customise your signature and attach it to each email. Avoid using terms like “Cheers” and “Best wishes” unless you know the recipient very well.
7. Forgetting to add attachments
If you have ever forgotten to attach documents that were meant to be sent with your email, you are not alone. All of us have done it at some point. But by doing this, you may come out as careless and irresponsible. This is something you should avoid at any cost.
After attaching documents, add a simple PFA(Please find Attached or Please find the Attachment) in the body of the email. This makes it clear to the recipients that they should expect to find important documents attached to the email, which otherwise may be missed.
Proofreading any kind of drafted content is the ultimate to-do task. This applies to emails as well. While doing this, check your spelling and grammar. If you are not confident with your usage of the language, there are online tools like Grammarly and Hemingway App to help you do this. Make sure the right email address is used. Not doing this can cause some serious trouble. See to it that the subject line is relevant to the content of the email. Don’t forget to end your email.
9. Reply All
A business email is usually sent to multiple people at once. This gives us the option to reply to all of them with a single email. But does each person on that list need to know about your reply? Ask yourself this before using the “reply all” feature. If one or two need not know of the conversation that follows, remove their email addresses from the list. This saves others from receiving irrelevant emails. It is important to know when to use “Reply” and when to use “Reply All” while responding to emails.
10. Replying at your leisure
When you reply according to your comfort, you may come out as lethargic and inconsiderate. Obviously, this is something to be avoided. It is advisable to reply within 12-24 hours of receiving the email. The amount of time you should wait before responding depends on various other factors.
If the email is a query about something to which you don’t have the solution for yet, you should however reply saying you will get back to them as soon as you have a solution. This shows promptness and emphasises your professionalism.
So here are some of the most important points to keep in mind while drafting and sending emails-
Do not forget to add a subject line
Always greet the recipient
Balance your formality and informality in the email
Do not use emojis
Maintain a consistent font
Always close your emails with a signature
Check if you have added your attachments
Proof-read your entire email
Use “Reply All” wisely
Reply within the appropriate time period
Well, now you can confidently send professional emails. But hey, there is so much more to how you should communicate with your clients via email. Make sure you check out our
Email Pro+ Course, a workshop on professional email writing and etiquette.