- Meridith is the manager of marketing and communications at the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce and the West Des Moines New View Young Professionals coordinator.
One of my responsibilities for the West Des Moines Chamber is to send out weekly mailings to our membership. I enjoy being able to interact with our membership and this task has given me that opportunity. One email that I received last week, however, forced me to contemplate how I come across in email correspondence. Here is a portion of the email that I received:
“First it would be nice that the emails come from The Chamber. Right now they say they are coming from Meridith Freese. For the longest time I would not open them because I did not know who this was and thought it was spam or something. Also, I tried to reply to your email, but you made the background brown so when I typed my message you could not read it with that background.”
Right away I noticed that there was no cordial greeting in this letter, and no professional closing or signature at the end. Just a paragraph of criticism for me to read. While I do not mind getting constructive criticism, I do believe there is a way to give a critique in a respectful manner as opposed to an oppositional one. (And I wondered if I would I have received this email if the title of President was in my signature line? I will never know.) But what I do know is that even though this person could have been extremely sincere in their suggestions, trying to be helpful, I did not take it as such. The lack of conversational politeness felt disrespectful to me and it was difficult for me to get past that to “hear” the point.
Being able to understand how you sound in an email in this tech savvy world is critical to your success in your career. Here are some suggestions that I urge you to consider before you push the send button:
- The subject line is crucial to summarizing your intent.
- Do not overuse capitalization or the exclamation point.
- Always, always, always use a personal greeting, and please take the extra few moments to make sure you are spelling the person’s name correctly.
- Keep your messages short and about the subject at hand. Respect people’s time.
- If it will turn into a conversation, pick up the phone instead.
- Ask yourself, how I would feel about this email if it were sent to me?
Even though this may seem like common sense to some, it still is occurring frequently in the workplace. Take the time to make sure that what they "hear" is what you mean.
Connect with me!