Every single day, 269 billion e-mails are sent.
There are 86, 400 seconds in one day. That means… (grabs calculator)
For 24 hours. 7 days a week.
E-mail is obviously a very very important part of our lives. We tend to use e-mail for job applications, official letters, assignment submissions… Things that you do not want to mess up.
Here at Skolafund, we get a lot of e-mails every day. And while we love what we do, we’re also concerned by some of the e-mails that we get. And it seems that it’s not just us – just take this recent tweet that went viral:
Macam tu je customer support balas email. Kau ingat ni tengah chatting kat wechat ke. Email etiquette should be a no-brainer at work. pic.twitter.com/uyV1ncdteX
— Tengku (@tengkuiskhandar) April 25, 2017
Do you want that to happen to you? We don’t.
E-mail etiquette, or manners, is important. But we admit, it’s possible that some of us just never knew what mistakes to avoid when writing e-mails. Maybe nobody taught us. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of e-mail nightmares that we’ve personally received here at Skolafund HQ.
NOT to embarrass anyone out there – you’ll notice we’ve censored all names and details. But simply, to help all of us write better e-mails. And get better service. And make the world a better place.
For you, and for me.
So let’s learn from our mistakes, together!
Tip: Click on the images to make them magically grow bigger!
1. Step 1: Please Introduce Yourself
Do you have friends who – the moment they see you – just launch straight into the middle of a story?
“OMG wei, so you know what, he totally went and did that thing he was talking about that day???”
No, I don’t know what. Or who. Or when. When you first send an e-mail to someone, take a while to tell them who you are and why you are sending the e-mail. It’s polite and saves everyone’s time!
2. E-mail Subjects Are Not Optional
Never, never press send on your e-mail without a subject. Writing good subjects is a skill that deserves a post by itself, but here are some basic examples if you’re stuck:
- Enquiry About… (eg: Starting Campaigns)
- Request For… (eg: Assistance / Help)
- Invitation To… (eg: Speak at Forum Perdana 2017)
- Follow Up On… (eg: Status of Application)
For a look at examples related to job applications, check out this excellent article from The Balance.
3. E-mail Bodies Are Also Not Optional
We see this a lot, and it would be interesting to ask HR departments everywhere how many e-mails from job applicants go straight into the trash can because of this. Don’t do it.
4. Reread Your E-mails Before You Send Them
It’s not about having spelling like Shakespeare* or vocabulary like Vonnegut. We’re all human, and we make mistakes all the time! But it is about communication – you have to make sure the other person can understand you.
If you’re not sure, then ask a nice friend to read it out loud and you’ll definitely be writing clearer e-mails INSTANTLY. If all your friends are unavailable, you could also use this free automatic grammar-checking tool – but still get a friend anyway.
*Did you know Shakespeare couldn’t even spell his own name properly? From signature records, he spelt it 6 different ways including Shakspea and, our favourite, Shackper. So, you know, at least we can spell our own names.
5. …But In Your E-mails, Triple Check ALL Names
Be honest, nobody likes other people spelling even pronouncing wrongly the names our mama gave us. What more when you’re e-mailing someone for their help? Check. Their. Names.
PS: It’s Skolafund. 😁
6. E-mail Is Not Whatsapp – Part 1
Let’s use an example we can all relate to – annoying Whatsapp replies. You would hate someone who replies like this, right?
When you get an e-mail, and the person replied to you in the subject line, this is the exact same feeling you’ll feel. Replies go in the main text, not in the subject.
7. E-mail is Not Whatsapp – Part 2
Again, e-mail is not Whatsapp. You can’t just send an attachment with absolutely zero introduction or explanation. It’s just… rude.
8. Full Sentences, Please. [Part 1]
This is a two-part nightmare (see next part below). But first tip: Type in full sentences. Please.
When you write an e-mail like this, it looks like you don’t care. It looks like you got better things to do than write in full sentences. If you don’t get a reply, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
9. Full Sentences, Please. [Part 2]
This is the same person who sent the e-mail in the previous part. He sent Skolafund HQ another e-mail. With two words.
ONE. Minute. Later.
But after punching some walls, we calmed ourselves down, then sat down to reply this e-mail. In full sentences.
Today… 3 months later…
Nothing. Zero. No replies.
We hope he found out how to reset his password.
And write better e-mails. It’s for our own good.
Looking for a way to check your grammar while you write your e-mail. Check out the awesome free tool, Grammarly! Download the extension and you’ll get your mistakes highlighted with suggestions to fix them – I caught 2 typos in this article with it!
Want us to show you exactly how to write the perfect e-mail? We’ll be posting a complete guide really soon – make sure you don’t miss out by subscribing to our blog right here. Do it. We’ll wait.