Think Before You Send

Posted by The Editors on September 22, 2011
Think Before You Send

This morning I had a phone call with a client I’ve been working with for the past week. We’ve been emailing back and forth, but this was the first time we’d spoken over the phone. When we were wrapping up our conversation, she added, “I’ll email you if I have other questions—I know you’re a quick email responder and I appreciate that!”

What a compliment! I was so delighted to hear that she appreciates my email etiquette. Which got me thinking: What am I doing right when I email clients? And what annoys me when people email me? There are a few stand-out items:

1. Quick response time/acknowledgement of receiving the email. I always try to immediately respond and answer the receiver’s questions, or at least acknowledge that I’m working on getting the answer. Nobody likes to be left hanging.

2. Injecting some personality into the email, even with clients. This morning I also made a (minor) slip up in an email with a new contact. Instead of just ignoring my mistake, I replied and with a little personality: “Sorry about my mistake! Is it Friday yet?” His response: “No worries at all! I was hoping it was Friday too…” Showing a little personality in an otherwise professional email shows that there’s a person behind the computer screen.

3. Using the “high priority” button correctly. Nothing annoys me more than people who over- or misuse the high priority button. Only click that option for the little red exclamation point if the message is really a top priority—like you’re running an hour late to a meeting. The office fridge getting cleaned out or information for a presentation you’re giving in a month simply don’t qualify.

4. Say “Hello” and “Goodbye.” Well you don’t need to say “Hello” and “Goodbye,” per say, but have a greeting and a sign-off. I dislike getting emails without an opening and closing. It makes them seem impersonal and rushed (and they may very well be, but I shouldn’t be able to tell).

5. Include a signature. I always appreciate email signatures because they allows me to: 1.) see your title, so I know who I’m working with, and 2.) find your phone number quickly so I can call if I need to. However, if your signature is 15 lines long, I don’t need to see it on every email. Put it on the first communication, so they can find it if they need it. Otherwise, leave it off.

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