One of the problems with modern communication is that it is very fast. We act and react quickly to messages that we receive and while this is very convenient, sometimes we miss opportunities and send the wrong.

It is easy to get into the habit of 'blurting out' email messages; we type at the speed of light and then press send without looking at what we have written. How many really badly written emails do you receive every day? I get a lot. And I'm sad to say I've certainly sent my share of poorly written, typo infested emails over the years, and it's something I have to work on every day.

There is a lot to be gained by taking a moment to review what we have typed and to ask ourselves a few simple questions. After all, surely we want our email communication to be as effective as it possibly can, to show just how professional we are and ideally to build our personal brand with our peers and our customers. Very few of us have actually been trained on how to write effective emails.

The questions I ask myself before pressing send are:

  1. Have I been respectful in my email?
  2. Is the tone correct?
  3. Have I been clear and to the point?
  4. Have I explained everything as best as I can?
  5. Have I given my customer the information they wanted (to show I was listening)?
  6. Have I made it very clear what I will be doing from here and what, if anything, I need the customer to do?
  7. Have I been friendly and engaging without being overly familiar?
  8. Have I been as professional as I want to be?
  9. Have I attached anything that I said I've attached?
  10. Have I "spell checked" the email?

Taking a few moments to consider your correspondence is a smart thing to do. For most of us, the act of sitting down and writing a letter is a dim memory from the past. In the digital world, we type, correct (sometimes) and send. When you write a letter, it is a whole different ball game, and by 'write' I mean use a pen and paper. Every word has to be considered, we have to avoid mistakes because they can't simply be corrected with a keystroke and we want the person receiving the letter to be able to read it. So there is a huge amount of consideration that goes into writing a letter. Not so much for an email.

Producing carefully considered communication is yet another way to stand out from the crowd. It is a way to build rapport, to show respect and to impress potential and existing customers with your level of professionalism. Give it a go. Follow this simple three-step plan when writing emails--STOP, REFLECT and then SEND.

Published on: Aug 17, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.