Aprils Daniels Hussar, SELF magazine
We've all done it -- gotten into trouble at work or with friends by "replying all," calling someone the wrong name or sending an email to the entirely wrong person ... but these faux pas aside, is there an art to crafting a great email?
Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of the 18th edition of Emily Post's Etiquette, says yes! Here are her top tips for making sure you always come across the way you want via the electronic word:
Related: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs
1. First things LAST: "Make filling in the 'to' field the very last thing you do," says Post. "That way you don't accidentally send your email when it's not ready to go."
2. Never Assume: From assuming everything in your email is spelled properly to assuming it arrived and was read by the intended recipient, assuming is "probably your biggest faux pas," says Post. "The one thing people really remember are the mistakes!"
Related: Foods That Fight Belly Bloat
3. Start Off Right: When you start an email exchange, use a proper greeting and an actual close, with your name, says Post. If it's a business contact, go with the more formal "Dear Ms. So-and-So," as opposed to "Dear Joan." "When you see how she signs her name, then you can start using that," says Post.
4. Read It Out Loud: "Studies have shown that when someone reads something written, if it's neutral, it comes across as negative; when it's positive, it comes across as neutral," says Post, "which is probably why we've started using so many exclamation points in our writing!"
5. Give JUST the Facts: "When it comes to emails, think about details: the who, the what, the when and the where," says Post. "When you're talking directly to the person, that's where you can get in to the why. With email, you don't have tone or inflection, and you can't always hear humor, so it's really important to leave those things where someone needs cues to understand where you're coming from out of an email."
Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss
6. Consider Your Recipient: "If you're sending an email to a business contact, you want it to be professional," says Post. "Err on the side of being friendly, but not too friendly." That means striking a balance between positive and professional, without sprinkling in smiley faces, all caps, shorthand language, or multiple exclamation points -- and definitely nothing risque or flirtatious if you're in a corporate setting. If your email is to a friend, of course, that's a different story.
7. Remember We're Human: Don't forget that you're writing to an actual person on the other end of your email. It sounds obvious, but all too often it's not! "It does make a difference when people feel they're truly being responded to," says Post.
More from SELF:
6 Moves for a Great Butt
5 Simple Steps to Cellulite-Free Skin
3 CrossFit Total-Body Workouts
6 Secrets to Firing Up Your Metabolism