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Tips 'n Tricks

Proof Your Email

By Richard B. Barger, ABC, APR

Originally Posted

I shouldn’t have to tell professionals this, but many people have decided, without justification, that email is like casual conversation. In conversation, you don’t have to worry about capitalization, or punctuation, or paragraphs, or, certainly, spelling.

It’s so easy to dash off an email, it’s so easy to be conversational, that far too many people have decided that email somehow doesn’t need to follow the rules of written communication.

So, we all receive email from colleagues who have forgotten everything they ever knew about readability: No caps, little or no punctuation, run-on sentences, mind-numbingly long paragraphs. And even if they do manage to use capital letters, periods, and commas, they don’t spend the extra 20 seconds it would take to run the damn spell-checker, which now is a ubiquitous one-button click on email clients.

What the hell are these people thinking?

When I get an email from a colleague that’s littered with misspellings or other errors, do you think I’m likely to partner with them on an upcoming project? No, I’m not going to let MY professional credibility hang on their laziness or carelessness or ineptitude.

If they don’t routinely take the time to do things right for a colleague or friend, why would anyone think they’d be able to avoid this habit when it comes to a quick note dashed off to a client? Anyway, your friend may forward that casual email to someone else -– and wouldn’t you be embarrassed if it was your client or your grammar teacher or your lover or something?

The tip: Write and proof email just as you would other written correspondence. Everything you send to others speaks of your qualities as a professional.

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