How often do you rattle off a quick email and press “send” without reading it back? (Probably quite often…)
And how often do your emails get ignored? Or misunderstood? Or even taken offensively?
This week our guest writer Mary Walton, freelance HR consultant and professional editor, is spilling the beans on how to make your email communications more effective.
Let’s take a look…
Improve Your HR Email Communication With These 9 Tips
The email has been in use for years now, but many HR departments still haven’t quite got the hang of using it.
If you’re not getting the results that you need, then you may want to look at how you’re emailing employees and potential new recruits.
Here are nine tips that will help you get the most out of those emails.
1. Address the recipient by name.
If you get an email addressed to ‘Whom it may concern’, are you going to read it? Unlikely.
The same goes for the people you’re emailing. Find out what the recipient’s name is, and put it in the greeting of your email.
This goes for cold calls, too.
This small change can grab the attention of the reader, as it shows you’ve paid attention to the details.
2. Check your length.
Wordy emails and communications aren’t as useful as you think they are.
Especially if read on a screen, the reader will lose interest before you get to what you need to say.
Make everything you write short and snappy.
A good tip is to sum up your main point in your first sentence, and then expand on it in the rest of your text.
If you want to keep track of how much you’re writing, use Easy Word Count to give you an accurate word count.
3. Edit your emails.
Many people treat email as an extension of social media.
They dash off an email and then hit ‘send’, without even looking back over the body of the email itself first.
Like all pieces of writing though, you need to step back and leave it a while first.
Once you’ve given yourself some time, you’ll find that it’s easier to see where you need to make edits before you send that email.
4. Only email when necessary.
Email has become the de facto method of communication in many offices, but it’s often not needed at all.
Look at the message of the email you’re about to send. Does this need to be in an email?
It does if it concerns an issue you need to track, or need evidence of. If it’s just a simple question, you could try IMing the person in question, or even asking in person.
5. Don’t ask unnecessary questions.
When sending an email, make sure you’ve read what’s in previous messages carefully.
According to a recruiter Joyce E. Thompson from Essay Services, it’s much better to do this than to send an email asking a question that’s already been answered further up the chain.
‘It means that the recipient doesn’t have to explain themselves again’ they said.
6. Don’t go overboard with the HTML effects.
A few markup effects can be useful in your emails. For example, bullet points, shading and bolding can all help you make your point.
However, if you go overboard with them, you can really put the reader off.
Keep your text clean, and the reader can concentrate on what you’re saying to them.
7. Have a good subject line.
Your subject line is the first thing that the reader will see, so make sure it’s compelling.
Make it interesting and useful to them, so they’ll be convinced to open the email.
For example, write ‘your application was successful’ in order to get their attention.
8. Proofread, proofread, proofread.
It can’t be emphasised enough how important proofreading is, in anything you write.
Even if it’s just a quick inter office email, you need to make sure that you haven’t made any mistakes.
If you skip this step, then you run the risk of looking less than professional. When you’re trying to recruit new staff, that’s the last thing you want to do.
9. Avoid jargon.
You may know what that jargon means, but the reader, especially if they’re not in your industry, won’t.
Keep it out of your emails and your communications will be much clear to the reader.
With these tips, you can create emails that will always be opened and can further your cause. Give them a try, you’ll see the difference.
Thanks for these really great tips, Mary!
It is really (really) important to maintain professional communication across all channels, with clients, job candidates and even co-workers.
It’s good practice and will help to stop you from making silly mistakes – like these poor people.
So next time you go to write an email, keep Mary’s tips in mind:
- Address the recipient by name.
- Check your length.
- Edit your emails.
- Only email when necessary.
- Don’t ask unnecessary questions.
- Don’t go overboard with the HTML effects.
- Have a good subject line.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread.
- Avoid jargon.
If you’d like to read more posts on HR, recruitment and employee engagement, please feel free to subscribe to our blog here.
- Mary Walton