Even if you’re not a stickler for proper grammar and spelling, you should practice mindful of simple misuses. Using correct grammar will not only better communicate your intelligence, but also help you to communicate more efficiently.
Although you may not pay mind to your small mistakes, chances are that you have a coworker or business associate who will notice. You don’t want their view of you to be colored by a few simple oversights.
In the age of e-mail, it’s likely that you do at least some writing as part of your job. The use of proper English conventions portrays you as professional, proficient and educated. Conversely, poor writing skills can negatively impact your colleagues’ view of your abilities and even your job performance reviews.
If you’re wondering how to write better e-mails at work, here four of the most common errors:
1. Using the wrong word. When quickly composing an email, it is easy to use the wrong form of a homonym. Some of the most commonly confused words include:
Doing a quick spellcheck as well as a read-through of your e-mail before you send it will allow you to a chance to catch common errors before sending them out to another professional.
2. An overly casual tone. In the busy office environment, it’s easy to fire off hastily-written e-mails that read more like text messages than a professional correspondence. While it may take a little extra effort, it’s always best to use correct formatting and formal language. In professional emails, you should use:
• Full sentences
• Proper capitalization for the first word of a sentence and proper nouns
• Punctuation, especially periods at the end of a sentence, to avoid writing an undecipherable wall of text
• Professional language: it’s best to avoid the use of excessive slang or abbreviations
• A salutation and signature, it not only personalizes your e-mail but provides valuable contact information
3. Improper punctuation. Excessive exclamation marks look unprofessional and can communicate a message of panic or. Likewise, using all caps can be perceived as overly aggressive. Instead of using exclamation marks or writing in uppercase, you can simply flag the e-mail as high priority or include it in the subject line.
4. Discriminatory language. Remember to use neutral pronouns when you aren’t sure of your contact’s gender. Failure to recognize both genders in your writing can make you seem presumptuous.
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