On the Job

7 common email mistakes to keep in mind

Wondering how to best come off as professional, friendly, and engaging as you possibly can in an email message? Turns out, many of us end up sending the wrong message in our emails instead of the right one.

If you want to look professional to your colleagues and your boss (and I’m sure you do) here are 7 email mistakes you should always avoid at work:

Overusing exclamation points

Even though we’re used to texting casually with our friends or family, or in a way that reflects our excitement, things come across much differently in a work-related email message. In emails, overusing exclamation points can seem over the top—or even immature.

Responding very slowly, or not at all

Although we’re all busy at work, and may sometimes have trouble finding the time to respond to an inbox full of email messages, there are sometimes work matters that need to be addressed right away. Even if you feel like you don’t have the time, take 15 or 20 seconds to let the other person know you’ve received their message and will respond in more detail when you can.

Poor grammar

While typos and other mistakes can occur when you’re in a hurry to compose your email message, poor grammar has less of an excuse. While a few typos can generally be excused, bad grammar reflects poorly on the sender.

Coming off too strong

Even though you should follow up when someone has made a commitment to do something for you, there are limits to how much you should pester them with message after message when they don’t get back to you with a response. If you can’t get a response from someone by email after a few tries, then pick up the phone and give them a call or drop by their office.

Emojis

Emojis are meant for texts—not for emails. Dousing your email in emojis can make them seem overly childish and incredibly unprofessional, regardless of where they’re being sent. Refrain from using emojis in your email messages—there are better ways to express your emotions (they’re called words).

Incorrect greetings

Double check your email before you hit “Send” to make sure that you’re addressing it to the right person. There are few things more embarrassing than saying hello to a different person than the one you meant to send the message to—especially when the content is something they shouldn’t see.

Over-thanking

It’s second nature to thank people in emails, but some people play ping-pong with their emailed thanks—sending a message thanking someone for thanking them. Say “thanks” just once, and avoid the temptation to respond to their thanks with another thanks.

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