In our daily lives we spend one-third of our working hours writing emails, memos, letters, etc.; yet do not notice their impact on our professional career. One simple writing mistake can cost us a lot. The growing communication technology has made our lives easier, but not equal to the human intellect. We should always remember that technology is a mere carrier of our thoughts that is expressed in words, it cannot replace the intelligence, emotions and the reasoning behind the written communication.
When you are sending an important email, your written words personifies of your own personality in front of the reader. As you climb up the corporate ladder, your minor mistakes are magnified more and you appear unprofessional to others. Some of the silly mistakes which people make, irrespective of their position, are absolutely avertable. You can avoid them by being a bit more alert.
These are the ten mistakes which you can avoid to look more professional:
Before you hit that send button, it is always better to run through whatever you have written. By not doing so only shows a lack of your interest in committing a couple of seconds more towards perfection. The technology comes handy here, use the spell check button before using the send button.
Right spelling wrong word
Remember, spell check can’t be the solution for every error. It will not point to your contextual mistake between “made” or “mad”, “best” or “beast, and “there” or “their”. If you are working in a digital marketing company, you will end up in extreme danger of screwing up your intent even after spell check clears it. Therefore, it is better to take a glance yourself before sending.
Acronyms and jargons
Beyond some common abbreviations like R&D, FAQ, IT, you should try and avoid the use of acronyms. In the age of internet marketing, writing a professional email to one of your esteemed clients or sending a memo within the organisation is extremely important.
You may be tempted to use your industry jargons and try to appear professional; but in all possibility, you will end up with confused readers scratching their heads. It’s certainly not professional. So, it is always better to keep it simple.
As a general rule, if you start with an appropriate tense, you need to stick to it throughout. Unless it’s contextually required to switch, you should keep the content in one tense as much as possible. Mixing tenses in writing is one of the most prevalent errors people make, which makes them look unprofessional to the readers. Remember, “the past”, “the present” and “the future” are not good friends and don’t stay together unless context invites them.
Avoid being passive
Consider writing in the active voice, especially in emails. It is more effective and looks more professional too. People use passive voice when they don’t intend to reveal the doer, and the emphasis is more on work rather than a doer. For eg, a mail from the manager to his team- “… The targets have been achieved consecutively for the second quarter, (who). The hard work has been done (by whom). Congratulations…”
Rather, start using more activeness in your emails like – “…you’ve achieved the targets consecutively for the second quarter. You’ve done the hard work. Congratulations …”. Better. On target!!!
Dnt let ur chatng and txtng habits spill ovr 2 ur professional wrtng.
It’s unprofessional when you use a shorthand while sending out an important email. Moreover, it makes the reader feel that you are amateur. It takes a couple of seconds more to spell the word completely. Take your time, but send it in a readable format.
You cannot manipulate with punctuations. Therefore, it is important that you use them appropriately and carefully.
Know the difference between lets vs. let’s, they’re vs. there, it’s vs. its. As a general rule, the words with an apostrophe are contraction words; hence “let’s” is “let us”, “They’re” is “they are” or “they were”, “It’s” is “it is”. The commas, hyphens, apostrophes, full stops etc. can make you look sensible or stupid depending on the usage.
Mixed font, font weight, and font colours
In a corporate setting, making some sentences and words italic and bold is fine to emphasise certain points overdoing looks unprofessional. We are not art designers.
Mixing different coloured fonts look grossly amateurish. Remember, what matters is the content and professional presentation of your communication and not the audacious show of your creativity.
Long sentences and paragraphs
Making use of the connectors like however, thus, also, hence, similarly, therefore, etc. can seem epic. By the time reader reaches the end of the sentence, he may find himself lost completely. Try keeping your sentences precise or break down them into two sentences. Restrict sentences related to similar ideas to short paragraphs.
Thinking translation syndrome
If English is not your first language, you think in your first language and then write in English. Try to avoid doing a verbatim translation. You have not been programmed robotic translator but a professional human.
Think, give a pause, structure your sentence logically, in a comprehensible English and then write.