Posts tagged writing

The art of the effective business e-mail

Brian Zafron wrote last week about the importance of well-crafted e-mails on the Freelance Switch blog. This topic drew me in because I too tend to be a bit picky about e-mail grammar and content and shudder at the complacency some of my peers seem to exhibit in this age of new, instant communication technology. In a world where “Where you at?” is actually a tag line for Boost Mobile and”idk” “lol” and “brb” make sense, the art of eloquent, professional, and thoughtful communication seems to have been seriously downgraded as a must-have for the adult world.

And maybe I am on a bit of a rant. It’s true – I stodgily resist the new IM and text messaging jargon. When I send a text (which is rarely) I painfully type out each word, finding myself slightly irritated that I can’t figure out how to make an apostrophe when I want to say “you’re.” I still subscribe to the notion that spelling, grammar, and writing style say something about us as individuals and as professionals. Just as I’m nervous having my hair cut by a stylist with a less than salon quality ‘do, I wouldn’t trust my professional communications to someone whose e-mails read like a 2nd grader’s spelling test. They could end up costing me my dignity with a blunder like this one (featured on Bad Pitch Blog).

So, my advice to students and professionals alike is this: save the shorthand for your BFF and keep your professional communication just that – professional. That means writing an e-mail like you would a letter, beginning with “Dear so-and-so” (or some variation) and ending with your signature. Read Zafron’s post to get more great advice. One thing I had to add to his advice is to avoid humor. Personally, I LOVE humor; I doubt I’ve gone a day in my life without cracking a joke or doing something silly just to get a laugh. But the problem with e-mail is it’s harder to tell when someone is joking. Sarcasm is the trickiest to pull off, so I’d recommend nixing it altogether, at least until you’ve established a comfy rapport.

After I’ve let loose my frustrations with bad grammar and time-wasting ramblings in e-mails, I want to please beg your pardon for any grammar/spelling/outright stupidity I’ve accidentally let slip in this post. Though I don’t want to make excuses, it is 1 AM and the chances are high I’ve missed something. So here’s my last piece of advice. Above all, be merciful. One or two errors does not a moron make, so on behalf of my graduating class, in our vernacular: plz give us chance!  

 Image courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/16/Typist.JPG

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