5 Common Email Mistakes

Email has become an integral part of doing business, but many people still struggle to get it right. Here are five common mistakes I see that limit the effectiveness of email communications.

  1. Addressing an email to no one in particular.
    Emails addressed to a large group of people often get answered by no one. Address your message to a specific person, and CC (courtesy copy) those who just need to be "in the know."

  2. Ignoring spelling, grammar and punctuation.
    People tend to read emails as though the sender were speaking the words. When your grammar and punctuation is incorrect, it affects their perception of your competency and expertise.

  3. Writing a stream-of-consciousness email.
    Writing an email as you think can produce some pretty hard-to-follow text. Be sure to re-read and edit your message before you hit "send", and eliminate run-on sentences, incomplete thoughts and contradictions.

  4. Burying the key points.
    If the recipient of your email has to dig through lines of detail to get to the point of your message, they may not put in the effort. Make sure the key thought, statement or question is clear and easy to find– preferably at the beginning of the email.

  5. Assuming the context.
    An email sent as a follow-up to some verbal conversation or event may not be easily understood once some time has passed or the conversation is forgotten. Make sure that any relevant context to your email is summarized, so that when read later it still makes sense.