How to write more professional emails

Are your professional emails littered with ALL CAPS and gratuitous exclamation points? (You know who you are.)

If so, you’re probably doing it wrong—like really wrong.

Here are a few professional email rules that are useful when communicating with business folks across the board (#corporatepun).

1. Short and sweet.

The key here is to make your email as easy to read as possible. People hate long emails. Good rule of thumb? The more important a person is, the shorter their emails usually are. Ever get a long response from a CEO? Neither have I. So, write like they would write.

2. Don’t ask too many questions.

Too many questions is overwhelming. Make it easy for the person to respond. If you want them to get back to you, ask one question—maybe two.

3. Be friendly, but not too friendly.

Unless you’re selling Girl Scout cookies—and if you are, I’ll take 200 boxes of Thin Mints—don’t be too gushy. Being too nice can feel disingenuous. So don’t overdo it.

4. Exclaim sparingly.

“WHAT?!” you say. “Yes,” I say. One or two exclamation points is fine… maybe. But unless your contact just got married, won the lottery, and found out that all the Indiana Jones movies are on Amazon Prime—all in the same day—hold it on the exclamation points.

“WHY?!” you ask? “I’ll tell you,” I say. More exclamation points indicate more emotion, and in business, some emotion is good—maybe even refreshing—but displaying too much emotion is unsettling and not indicative of a steady business temperament. Which is why ALL CAPS (the typed equivalent of a shout) is a no go.


This sort of approach has worked well for me. But what about you? Have a few more tips and tricks? Would love to read them in the comments below!

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