What Not to Include in an Email

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If you had to judge the professionalism of the person who wrote this email, how would it rate on a scale of 1 to 10?

          To: Kay Hunter, Kay Hunter Image
          From: Taylor Smith, Business Manager
          Subject: Orange County Image Consulting

          TY SO MUCH!!!!!!!! ur the best :):)

Let’s just say I doubt you gave it a 10!


What Not to Include in an Email

Your email communication is a critical (and often overlooked) way your personal brand impacts your success. Even if texting language, emoticons, and extreme exclamations go over great in your personal email, they probably don’t project your ideal professional presence at work. Proper email etiquette will help you appear the polished professional, and that means knowing what not to include in a work email.

Next time you write a professional email, leave these things out:

  • A vague or missing subject line. Leaving off the subject is a great way to get your email ignored or blocked as spam. Worse, it can make you look lazy. So use the subject line as a sneak peek to briefly summarize your message’s content and priority. The subject is only for summarizing—the entire message shouldn’t go there, even if it’s short.
  • Informalities. It may help to remind yourself you’re not writing your college roommate, you’re writing professionals who can impact your career! Those texting phrases, emoticons, and exclamations—they go here as informalities. Same for obscure capitalization: A message written in all caps can seem like shouting, whereas a message written in all lowercase can look lazy. Also be careful of overly casual phrases, like “Hiya!” or “xoxo.”
  • Copious courtesy copies. Few email etiquette breaches are worse than using the Reply All button to say “OK” or “Thanks!” Before you respond to a group message, ask, Will that email be useful to everyone on the list? Similarly, be careful with the blind and courtesy copies—include only people who are directly involved with the message. (And know you won’t win popularity points by blind-copying the recipient’s boss, which could come across as sneaky!)
  • Pages and pages of old replies. When you add a new person to a message string, get them up to speed quickly by deleting the preceding ten pages of replies and summarizing the progress to that point. And be sure to delete anything that may be confidential or potentially offensive!
  • Sarcasm. Tone can be tricky in email, so why risk a tongue-in-cheek remark? Unless you’re writing to someone you know very well, screen your email for any verbiage that could be misinterpreted, even if it’s meant as a joke. It’s not worth offending someone.

When your email message exudes executive presence, just think of the positive message you’re sending about yourself! And communication is just one of the ABCs of professional presence, which work together to build a strong and memorable personal brand. Together with appearance and behavior, you can strategically shape your professional presence to deliver your best impression every time—even when that means knowing what not to include!

Thx 4 reading!!!!!! 🙂 xoxo

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