1. Forgetting to spell-check the text
While most people associate texting with slang acronyms like JK (just kidding) and IDK (I don’t know), it’s also true that we’re becoming more tolerant of spelling and grammar mistakes when we text. This makes perfect sense, as the speed of your reply and the overall message are more important when you’re reacting to a cute cat video than grammar and punctuation.
That said, the same rule does NOT apply to emails. After all, you usually have the time to craft and edit your thought without the pressure of time when writing an email. Therefore, you are expected to keep your spelling, grammar, and punctuation in check. “If spelling and grammar mistakes show up in your communication, the other person might get the impression that you are rushed, do not pay attention to detail, or have a careless attitude,” advises Patricia Rossi, the author of “Everyday Etiquette.”
It’s important to proofread every email you write, paying extra close attention to crucial details, especially the recipient’s name, to avoid coming off as impolite or inconsiderate. Spelling and grammar checkers like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, and Hemingway can help catch big mistakes, but don’t rely on them completely.
2. Taking too long to reply
Life was easier back in the day. Before online communication became a thing, you’d receive letters through paper mail, and those letters would take days to arrive at your home. So, many people got away with postponing their reply to a letter they have received for a day or two. In the modern world, taking several days to reply to an email is considered a serious slip-up.
After all, your smartphone is always in your pocket, and so you are usually expected to reply to an email within a day. In fact, many email providers, like Gmail, provide the service of following-up on an email that didn’t receive a reply for a day or two, which proves that the rule is ingrained in modern communication culture.
3. Clicking on “reply to all” too often
The “reply to all” function is quite useful if you want several people who also received the same email you did to weigh-in on a conversation. If you have something important to say, by all means, share your thoughts with others, but many people tend to overuse this feature, spamming the conversation unnecessary corrections, details, or even small talk.
Before hitting the “reply all” button, consider if everyone in the conversation needs to know what you’re writing, especially in a professional setting. After all, you can always settle a dispute or an uncomfortable question via a separate email or even a phone call.
4. Overloading the email with emojis
Believe it or not, emojis are quite an important part of online communication. Some people may scoff at emojis, but in certain cases, they can really save a lot of time and adjust the tone of a written conversation from serious to lighthearted, or from sarcastic to sincere. So, you can use emojis to preventing misunderstandings and save both you and the recipient precious time.
Still, there is a time and place for emojis, and in most cases, an official or professional email will not benefit from the overuse of emoticons. “Sometimes people feel the need to add emojis in order to clarify the tone with which they said something and avoid a misunderstanding, especially when something is intended to be a joke, sarcastic or ironic, but it’d be better just to revise whatever it is you want to say so that the emoji isn’t necessary in the first place,” states Nick Leighton, an etiquette expert.
Once again, take the time and adjust the tone and form in which you choose to write an email. Otherwise, your colleagues and other recipients may not take you seriously.
5. Overexplaining things
Unlike letters, which tend to be heavy on formalities and details, email exchanges should be precise and concise. At least, that’s the polite and mindful thing to do in a professional or any other formal setting. As Leighton pointed out, “Your communications should always be respectful, clear, on-topic, and concise.”
But even more mundane tasks settled through email, like asking a company for a refund, for example, are best left without long-winded explanations. Only state the details of your order, the reason why your case warrants a refund, and thank the recipient for their time. This way, you are showing respect for the recipient’s time, and you’ll be sure to get a more eager and positive response.
The best place and occasion to exercise your writing skills, express your feeling, and describe events in detail are private emails, such as those you send to your friends or relatives.
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