In the age of the Internet, you might find yourself clicking “reply,” typing up a quick response and hitting “send” without giving so much as a thought about what you’ve just written. But experts agree that your e-mail behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally.
Avoid these five email mistakes and your messages will come across much more professionally.
1. Piece Emailing
One email pet peeve many employers have is when someone sends piece mail, which is the process of sending many emails in a row without giving adequate time for a response. If people don’t allow you at least 48 hours to sort things through, they can come off as pushy and unprofessional.
2. Unstructured criticism
Words can seem harsher, and are more likely misunderstood, when reading on a fluorescent screen rather than heard in person. If you choose to give critical feedback through an email, be sure to cushion your constructive criticism with some kinder words before and after–also known as a compliment sandwich. It’s so unprofessional to blast a bunch of negativity at someone through an email. Soften your email and get the point across professionally.
With such high volumes of emails, it can be very annoying to receive those that are a couple of words long. Such messages should be sent using a work instant messaging system or simply by sending a text. Reducing irrelevant emails is a great way to show your competence in the workplace.
4. Slow response time or no response at all
It is unprofessional to have a slow response time or to completely ignore an email from a colleague or client. Even if you are short on time, email back a “Thanks!” or “Got it!” and then follow up within a reasonable amount of time. Filtering your messages and prioritizing which emails need to be addressed first will keep you on track and working professionally.
Emojis are for texting and instant messaging–not for emails. Stay away from adding that heart emoji or smiley face, regardless of how well you think it fits within the content you are emailing. Nothing says unprofessional more than a smiley face at the end of each paragraph.