Sending emails that impress
Email has proven to be a very useful form of communication. And just like when we speak, we may use a different format with personal email than we do with professional ones. And when you remove the facial expressions, body language and tone of voice that you get from talking in person, it’s easy for emails to be misconstrued. In college, you will often communicate with your professors via email, and when you do so, you should be sure that your message is written so that you get your point across clearly in a timely and socially appropriate way.
Aim for clarity
• Make sure your subject line specifically says what the email is regarding.
• Keep your message brief – no more than one or two paragraphs.
• Include your full name and class period.
• Offer a polite greeting.
Include all pertinent information
• Clearly state the issue, briefly provide context, discuss what you’ve already done to try and solve the issue, show why it is critical that you find resolution, and offer suggestions as to how you think it could be resolved.
• Provide important details – If you are having trouble in a course, provide information about the module, title of the assignment, steps you are or have taken, etc.
Be polite and professional
• Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation for errors.
• Use a plain, readable font.
• Don’t send an ALL CAPS message, as it appears that you are screaming.
• Avoid pushy language like “ASAP”. If you need a response by a certain time, specify that in your email.
• Using more than one exclamation point (!!!!!!!!!!) or question mark (??????????) comes off as immature and unprofessional.
• Avoid texting language (LOL, BRB, etc.).
• Keep a positive, conversational tone by using contractions. Smiles and winks can be used when trying to convey tone or jest, but use them lightly.
When to email:
• If you have an easy question
• If you want to submit an assignment
When not to email:
• If your teacher asked you not to submit in this way
• If you need an extension on a deadline, you should really ask for it in person
• Anything that will require a lot of back and forth messaging
• Touchy subjects