Updated: May 3
"Matching your tone to the person who you are speaking to immediately builds trust, the foundation for all relationships."
Have you ever gone to write a standard email and suddenly freeze when your fingers hit the keyboard? How do you begin? What type of tone do you want to set? And then, of course, what did you even want to say in the first place?
Creating an email in today’s age can be intimidating. With the invention of the smart phone, a person is all but expected to read and reply to an email the instant it is sent. These expectations put extra pressure on the recipient to respond with a concise and thoughtful email, even if they are driving down the freeway. Whether writing a casual email or drafting a company-wide proposal, these tips will alleviate this stress and help to maximize the outcome of the message.
1. Respond when you have the time to collect your thoughts
The biggest mistake people make when composing an email is that they write it when they are not able to focus their attention on the task at hand. In this fast-paced world where multi-tasking is the norm, it is vital to write an email when you are distraction-free and can be clear on what you want to say. If this means putting off responding until you have the time, then do it.
If you are occupied when you receive an email of high importance, send a simple reply that you are unable to give the person the attention their email deserves and that you will get back to them as soon as you can. If the email requires a meaningful response immediately, clear away ten minutes of your time to respond with nothing else distracting you.
Our society has cultivated a work environment in which people think email is life or death. If something is so serious that it needs immediate attention, the best way to address it is with a phone call.
2. Have a clear subject line
Make sure that your subject line explains the purpose of the email. This section should be short and concise. Increase the chances that your email is opened with a call to action or a personal touch. Example: (Mutual friend) said I should reach out. This is a good subject line if you are introducing yourself to a person who you share a mutual connection.
3. Match the tone of the recipient
Matching the tone of the person you are writing for is of great importance. If your reader writes in a short and serious tone, do the same. Likewise, if you are responding to an email in which the writer has an upbeat manner, go ahead and be freer with the exclamation points.
Personally, I am just now understanding the importance of writing for the reader. Matching your tone to the person who you are speaking to immediately builds trust, the foundation for all relationships.
Tone matching is often used in psychology to demonstrate empathy and is equally effective in both writing and face to face conversations.
The only time that you should not mirror your reader’s tone is when they are being overtly hostile. Fighting fire with fire almost never works in conflict resolution, especially in email form. Instead, respond in a warmer tone or suggest the matter be discussed in person.
4. Have a signature sign off
Concluding an email with a signature sign off helps to establish your “brand” as a professional. This should include your Name, proceeded by title and contact information, then followed by a sendoff.
Two of the most popular send offs in business include Best and Regards, as they are traditional and safe. If you want to add a touch of warmth, upgrade these to Best Wishes and Warmest Regards.
Less traditional but still popular farewells include Sincerely, Kindly, With Gratitude, and With Appreciation. Thank you is being used more often, though is more general.
When writing a friendly email, Cheers, You’re the Best, Talk Soon, and Your Friend make for a good ending.
Before you hit send on your next email, take a second and think about how the other person is going to receive it. Slow down and read it with fresh eyes. If you were rushed while writing it, take five minutes and re-read it.
Make sure that the subject line is succinct and reads like a preview to the topic of your letter. Confirm that the body of the email is structured and matches the tenor of the reader’s personality.
Lastly, ensure your sendoff is appropriate and reflects your relationship with the receiver.
A well-written email can go a long way with people, whereas a rushed one can leave room for misunderstandings that can create tension. Make sure you show your reader the respect their time deserves.
**Inspiration of the Day:
It takes two to write a letter as much as it takes two to make a quarrel. ~Elizabeth Drew
Shannon Slack helps her clients craft irresistible resumes and establish career paths. For more tips or if you would like to work with me click below: https://www.moonlightingcareerservices.com/contact.