With the ubiquity of email usage comes the importance of email etiquette. Perkbox Insights, a platform aims at enhancing employee experiences, conducted a survey of 1,982 people this year to help everybody understand the best and the worst phrases to use in emails. Here are some of the worst habits that you should avoid.
Worst way to begin an email: No greeting at all
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Getting a work email with no greetings at all can leave a bitter taste in the recipient’s mouth. According to the survey, 53% of the respondents voted this as the most unpleasant way to start an email. My heart always sinks a little bit when I receive such an email, even though I know that the other person may be short on time.
Skipping over a greeting can convey a lack of effort and professionalism. It may make the recipient feel disrespected. It can lead to unexpectedly negative responses from the recipient, such as not replying to your email at all or harboring negative thoughts about you.
If you want to maintain or improve your work relationships, you should show your respect by starting your email with a simple “hi”, preferably followed by the recipient’s name. It only takes a few seconds.
Worst sign off: “Love”
“Love” is a cringe-worthy word to use in a work email. Think about it: are you likely to characterize the relationship you have with your manager as “love”? This word carries so much emotion that it doesn’t mix well with professionalism. It is better used in a love letter, or with family and friends.
I recommend that you stay away from signing off your emails with “love” at all costs. Not only could you make the recipient uncomfortable, you might unintentionally get yourself into the center of an office gossip that would be hard to get out.
Worst email cliché: “As per my last email”
33% of the people who answered the survey listed this as one of the most annoying email clichés. This is totally understandable. In today’s day and age when people spend on average 2.6 hours answering emails a day, most people do not remember what your “last email” was about, and they most likely don’t have the time to dig through their inboxes to find your “last email”. Your email may suffer the unfortunate fate of getting thrown into the Trash folder without even being read in its entirety.
To make sure that you get your message across, I recommend that you attach your “last email” to the email you are sending. Alternatively, you can simply reply to your “last email”. Whichever way you prefer, you still want to briefly describe what your “last email” was about in the body of the current email, and make a reference to either the attachment or the message you are replying to.
Worst email habit: Incessant use of capital letters
You are excited; however, at the end of the day, you are still sending a work email.
Although capital letters are appropriate in some situations, especially when you want to convey a huge win, in most cases, using too many capital letters only paints a picture of a rude and immature person in the recipient’s mind. You don’t want to be misinterpreted as shouting as someone in an email.
If you truly want to emphasize something, I recommend that you only use capital letters for one to two words in a sentence. When in doubt, only use proper letter cases.