The advent of email has made both our personal and professional lives much easier. Information is accessible with a few clicks of the mouse, and communication is streamlined. We can exchange messages via our laptops, tablets and phones without ever speaking a word. While this definitely makes communication easier, it can also lead to misunderstandings.
Chances are you have been in a situation where you have either gotten or sent an email and the message was taken the wrong way. Maybe you meant to say something jokingly, but due to the inability to show inflection in your words, the joke went to the wayside and the recipient took it the wrong way. Or you have been struggling to come up with the right wording for an email that you need to send, just to do so and not get a response.
Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy spent three years studying the science of emotions and how they apply to work life. Their findings are in their new book, “No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work.” The duo found that there are five common mistakes that people make when it comes to their emails and offered up some strategies on how to fix them so your email gets read.
Assuming The Other Person Can Read Your Mind
This not only happens during in-person communication but also via digital means. If you’re emailing someone about a product or service that your company provides, it can be easy to forget that the recipient might not be as well-versed as you are. Remember to be as specific as possible in your emails, especially if you’re emailing someone you aren’t too familiar with.
Using Too Many Emojis
It is important to remember that work emails and your personal emails or texts should be approached differently. In your casual conversations with friends or family, you might throw in the occasional emoji or bitmoji. Although you might be tempted to include them in your work correspondence to lighten the mood, you should probably leave them out as they can undermine your professionalism. Once you know the other person a little better, you can include them since you’ll likely understand how he or she will receive them. Along the same vein, you don’t need to overuse exclamation points to show your excitement.
Failing to Proofread
The quickest way to lose credibility is by having a bunch of careless errors in your email correspondence. If you forget to include a comma, the whole meaning of your message could be misinterpreted. You should always proofread then reread your email before pressing send.
Don’t React, Respond
Given the fact that your communication is blocked via a screen and keyboard, it becomes easier to react to a message instead of taking the time to respond. It can be hard to reel in your emotions when responding so you fire off an email that you might regret later. Luckily, most emails are not time-sensitive so if you aren’t sure how to respond or if you are afraid your emotions are going to run high, you can take some time to cool off and revisit the message later. In doing this, you will be responding instead of emotionally reacting.
Asking Over Email
Similar to the above, it may be easier to ask something via email because of the comfort factor. Want a meeting with your supervisor but am afraid to get rejected in person? Chances are you’ve resorted to email for this request. In this case, that is acceptable. However, asking for a raise or promotion is something that should be reserved for an in-person discussion. Research has shown that an in-person request is 30 percent more successful than an emailed one, as people see emailed requests as “untrustworthy” and “non-urgent.”
You likely use email everyday in some aspect. If you’ve ever sent an email just to get no response, maybe you’re making these mistakes more often than you think. Before you send your next email, either for personal or professional reasons, be wary of these mistakes!