As the most successful person you probably know, a lot of things in life come very easy to me. Rapidly ascending the corporate ladder, having a perfect body, speaking knowledgeably about the delights of French cuisine. All of these are as second nature to me as breathing.
But yes, I am human (for now) so there are things that I’ve struggled with from time to time. For a while, that included sending work emails, which was problematic because 75% of my life is reading, writing and ignoring emails. This is pretty wild to me. Like, what the hell did people do before email? How did things get done in like 1970? When was the printing press invented?
But let’s stay on track. I write to you with good news, loyal reader. After years of struggle and hardship, I have finally figured out how to send perfect work emails, ones that crackle and sing with prose that would make James Joyce weep with pleasure and burn with jealous envy. With this knowledge at my fingertips, how do I feel, you ask? Joyful? Relieved? Aroused? All of the above. But more than anything, I feel the burning desire to share my knowledge with the WRDies. God knows you need it.
Pro Tip #1. Figure Out Your Exclamation Points!
Hands down, the hardest thing for me to figure out in my professional career has been the appropriate use of exclamation points in an email. When I first started working, I added exclamation points to every sentence because I felt weird emailing coworkers who were older than my parents and asking them to do stuff for me. I sounded like a fucking loon.
Hope you’re having a great morning! Thanks for sending over those documents! I’m a maniac who yells everything I type!
It was a goddam mess. When in doubt, just don’t use them. No one is going to think you’re mad at them because you ended a sentence in a period. That only applies to text messages. Periods after texts are the saltiest things possible.
However, sometimes exclamation points are appropriate. Especially if you want to, ya know, express excitement.
Here are some tips:
- Follow their lead
- Not to be sexist, but usually girls use exclamation points a lot. When they are using them like crazy and you respond with periods, you kind of look like a dick.
- Don’t double exclamation point
- If I catch you triple exclamation pointing, you are kicked off the blog for good.
- Are you genuinely excited?
- Save these for congratulations emails to coworkers who got promoted or even better, got the guts to quit your godforsaken company.
Also, can we address people saying ‘Pleasure to e-meet you!’ Stop it. It sounds like you’re absolutely astounded by technology and email. It’s not that big of a deal Greg, relax.
Pro-Tip #2: Throw Some Shade When Necessary
This is a no snitches blog, so we generally don’t recommend throwing people under the bus on group emails. If someone makes a mistake, don’t reply-all and say something like “Very confused – why are we not using 10% commission rate as we have every single quarter for the last 2 years?” They obviously made a typo or a simple mistake so chill out man.
However, sometimes there are people that have been straight up fucking with you for weeks. Maybe they’re trying to make you look bad in front of your boss. Maybe they’re honestly just annoying and it feels good to bully them a little bit. Regardless, here are some good email phrases for when you want to be professionally mean.
- “Per my last email” = Lol can you read
- “Bumping this to the top of your inbox” = Yo did you forget about this?
- “Happy to hop on the phone or discuss in person” = You talk tough on the keyboard. Let’s see if you bring that same energy in person.
- “Moving Forward” = You fucked this up and I bailed you out. Don’t do this again.
- “Any update on this” = Hurry up my boss is bothering me about this
- “Let me know if I misunderstood” = Stop backtracking like a little bitch
- “Apologies if I was unclear” = I am now going to talk to you like an infant
- “Looping in (insert name)” = this is not my job why are you asking me to do this
Pro-Tip #3: Get to the Goddam Point
If your email is more than 150 words, you’re doing something wrong. Don’t pussyfoot around what you’re saying or asking. Just get right to it.
Whenever I see paragraphs longer than 3 sentences, my eyes glaze over. It feels more intimidating than it is.
People don’t need as much background information as you think they do. It might seem essential to you, but it’s actually superfluous as all heck.
Here are some helpful ways to make sure you are being super clear and people understand what you’re talking about or asking for.
- Use bullets
- It’s easy on the eyeballs
- Bold Important Information
- Sometimes italicizing helps as well
- Stick to Information
- Stop saying things like “I was just wondering” or “We were just thinking that.” It makes you look desperate.
*Note – this does not apply to WRD blogs, which are always 300 words too long. It’s our brand.
Pro Tip #4 – Subject Lines Matter Pal
I’m sure there are people out there who organize their emails into neat little folders, but that is not me. Like most of the working world, when I need to find an important email, I search by key phrases in my inbox and hope to god it shows up.
As such, you need to make your subject lines easy to search and also something people will want to open.
Also, please do not you make your subject lines something that should be the body of your email. I had a boss who would do send emails with a long ass subject line, then nothing in the body. We get it, you’re super busy. But when I see a subject line that says- “Where Are You on the Slides I Asked For” – it makes me want to strangle you. OK MIKE?
Pro-Tip #5- Just Send It
When I started working I would spend a half hour typing, re-reading and editing each email i sent. Does that sound too stern? Am i coming across weak here? Is that really how you spell accommodate?
Life is short. So, when it comes to email – you just gotta send it. Ultimately, none of this really matters at all. Do you think that on your death bed, you’ll regret an email you sent? No! You’ll be regretting how you never got your drinking under control and ended up driving away your wife, children, and everyone who ever loved you. And that you didn’t read more of my blogs.
You should definitely re-read emails at least once though. Emails last forever.