Writing a business email?
Why bother with writing convention and trying to convince your readers that you are a literate communicator when you really never learned the soft skills of communication anyway? Or maybe you learned them but don’t feel like using them. For the sake of your own convenience, you are happy enough to type whatever, however you want, slopping through the writing, thinking, “Well, I’ll just add let me know if you need clarification at the end of your message. If they get it, good. If not, they can ask.”
Your email makes an impression as soon as the recipient opens it up. If the reader even gets to the end, further clarification should not be necessary if you communicated well enough in the first place.
Here are five disrespectful strategies guaranteed to alienate your audience and diminish your communication capacity – and respect — as a business professional.
1. Write in all caps.
IT DOESN’T MATTER THAT YOUR NAILS ARE TOO LONG, YOUR CARPAL TUNNEL IS ACTING UP AGAIN, YOUR SHIFT KEY IS STUCK, IT’S QUICKER. Writing in all caps is yelling. Always. It’s also lazy, rude, difficult to read and disrespectful. Buy voice-activated software, get an ergonomic keyboard, find your nail clippers.
2. Use text language in a professional email.
OMG, plz 4get 2 use txting language n email, LOL.
You are not twelve years old; you are a professional. I will not take your email seriously, but I will laugh at it. And then I will delete it.
3. Put emoticons in a professional email.
Again, be the professional, not the twelve year old. Adults have an average vocabulary of 20,000 words. It’s not too much to insist that you use some of them instead of tiny smileys and frownies. If all else fails, try the dictionary and thesaurus.
4. Put apostrophes next to every “s” at the end of the word.
Plurals need only an “s;” possessives need the apostrophe before the “s.”
Unless the rabbits (plural) own something, leave out the apostrophe. Leave it out in 1980s, CDs, DVDs, too.
5. Keep’em confused: mix up homonyms.
Its/it’s, they’re/their/there, hear/here . . . you get the picture. You were also supposed to learn this in school. You definitely need to get it right at work.
These are my pet peeves in professional writing. There is a time and place for CAPS as emphasis, playing with texting language, and inserting emoticons; play with language, stretch the rules and see what bounces back to you. But play in your personal writing, in your own social media, in poetry and fiction writing. Don’t present yourself as a representative of your company if you can’t communicate like a professional.
I stand firm about apostrophes and homonyms in any writing.