Internal work email communication can be a minefield and a little daunting if you are new to the workplace environment. Here’s some handy hints for corporate newbies or workers who’ve been getting it wrong for too long.
- Always add a concise subject. One word can be too vague, ten is way too long.
- In most workplaces it is acceptable to begin internal emails with, “Hi …………. ,”
- Use “Dear …………. ,” in more formal or business emails. If you don’t know the name of the recipient then begin with “Dear Sir or Madame,” and sign off with “Yours faithfully,” though this shouldn’t be necessary for most internal communications.
- If appropriate, begin with a very brief plesentary. For example, “I hope you’re well”.
- Going through emails is laborious enough without having to read a lengthy essay – so be kind to your colleagues and keep your work emails short and to the point.
- Keep your emails professional and polite.
- Avoid writing in UPPERCASE and don’t use an angry, sarcastic or bossy tone. Remember that your workplace emails may not be confidential. Play it safe by assuming your employer or boss may read your emails.
- Using abbreviations or emoticons may or may not be acceptable at your workplace. It depends on the culture of the organisation or the nature of the business. It’s best not to use emojis (especially the unicorn ? or turd ?) until you are familiar with the modus operandi of your workplace. If you do work for a “cool” corporation, only use the positive and smiley emojis.
- Emails can be contractual so don’t agree to anything or make promises unless you actually intend to.
- If you’ve added attachments then say how many in the body of the text so the recipient can’t accidentally miss them. For example… “Please find three attached documents”.
- Don’t forget to attach the documents. It’s often done and looks a bit foolish writing “Oops, I forgot this.” And double check you’ve attached right document too.
- It should go without saying, but check for spelling and embarrassing autocorrect errors!
- Never “send to all” unless you really mean to! It is unlikely, since the dawn of email, that anyone who hit “send all” didn’t instantly regret it.
- Avoid using the Carbon Copy (CC) function. If the email is intended to go to a number of people then add multiple recipients in the address box.
- Don’t use your workplace email for personal purposes.
- Reply to emails as promptly as possible, even if it’s just a quick note to say you’ve on the case. Tardy responses don’t give a good impression.
- Never delete emails – you may delete something important. You should be able to archive old emails rather than delete them.
- Keep your inbox tidy and organise emails into folders if your software allows.
- If you are required to change your workplace email account password don’t use a password you use on any personal accounts. Don’t use an expletive or sexual word as a password. You may need to reveal it some day… Awkward.
- Read your workplace’s policies/guidelines on internal communications!
Appropriate sign offs
Less appropriate sign offs
All the best,
…And totally inappropriate
Or any number of Xs!
That’s all for now.
If you have any other advice for writing internal workplace emails leave them in the comments below.