In today’s business environment, it is important to consider your audience when typing correspondence to colleagues and clients, even when communicating through email.
With the advent of newer technology came a trend in short form typing – you don’t have much space to get your point across (for example, an iPhone user only has 160 characters available for a single message). Acronyms and poor grammar are the norm, and the tendency to use emoticons is a good way to ensure you convey your meaning without the risk of someone misreading the text message.
While it is perfectly acceptable to use acronyms and smiley faces in personal communication, it is not the ideal way to communicate in a business environment. Below are some tips to consider before you send an email to your coworkers or respond to a client’s request.
- Keep emails as simple as possible and avoid long, complicated paragraphs. If your email is too long and complicated, your audience might not even read it.
- Avoid using Caps Lock to make your point. Typing in capital letters can be received as “yelling”. For example, PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND uses unnecessary capitals. Instead, use bold, italics, or underline to make a sentence/word stand out.
- Avoid using acronyms like LOL or any other slang. Acronyms should be clear to the user and, if used in a longer letter, defined after the first reference to the term (i.e., Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”)).
- Unless you are engaging in casual email communication with a coworker, avoid the use of emoticons (smiley or sad faces). This can make your emails appear juvenile and unprofessional.
- Read over your email before you send it to see if it makes sense.
- Check the basics – their, there, they’re – are you using the right one? Unsure? Google!
- Spell check before sending – this won’t catch everything, but could catch an embarrassing typo that you didn’t notice before.