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Does Your Email Style Really Matter?

Want a career? Work on your email style.

Yes, yes it does. In my view more than most folks give credit for.

And, don’t underestimate that fact. Don’t take your email style as seriously as you should, and it could literally have a negative impact on your career.

Yesterday I was talking to someone who works in a huge company. A company name you would recognize. This person has been with the company for only two years but has already had 3 promotions—much to the chagrin of other long-timers.

Why? Because he is a true professional. Not just when others are looking. At all times and specifically in his email. We talked about how he always gets comments about his professional style and asked how he knows everything he knows.

The fact is this guy is smart. Add his ability to be a critical thinker that follows through, and that is not your average employee anyways. But the way he emails solidifies these abilities because it contributes to the perception of “what doesn’t he do well”. So, as a result, he stands out like a sore thumb.

He’s one of the few who:

  • Starts his emails with a Hello and his contact’s name. If to a group “Hello, All:” instead of just typing about what he needs. He does this on all replies and wouldn’t be caught dead replying with a one-word reply and nothing else.
  • Next is a nice little greeting: “Hope you are doing well!” Or a greeting apropos to the conversation or topic.
  • He spellchecks and uses proper sentence structure and punctuation — at all times.
  • The emails always close with a “thank you for your help” or “if you have questions, let me know.”
  • His sign-off is professional with Regards, his name, and contact information.

Perception is Everything

How do you think his professional email habits contribute to the perception of him as a quality extraordinary employee? A lot.

Add to that the fact that those a level or two above his pay grade and most of his coworkers do not email using business email basics only proves to make him stand out even more. And he is surprised about that and truly doesn’t understand why he seems to be one of the few who communicate with email the way he does.

He also shared with me that age seems to be a factor. He is older than many of the folks he communicates with. Commenting on how the “younger set” seems to treat email like texting and totally as an informal communications tool.

He explained, “I just can’t communicate like that.” So it’s important to him to be a professional at all times — even in email. I don’t think this is lost on upper management.

Employee Competition is Really a Thing

To get ahead in business — you have to compete. While some may not look at their job as a competition, if you want to excel in a career you may want to change your train of thought.

That means you pay attention to every detail. The basics like coming in on time — all the time, personal hygiene, and an overall display of a positive attitude and capable of teamwork. This includes a firm handshake, and looking folks in the eye when speaking to you shows you mean business.

When added with an obvious command of being able to communicate professionally with the written word (a.k.a. email), these little things are how you stand out from the rest. You come off as the consummate professional.

If everything is equal — and it rarely is, using your email communications properly and professionally can do nothing but enhance your career potential. And being this is one thing that is relatively simple to do, why do so many not do so? I know my friend isn’t concerned about that as he continues to climb the ladder of success.

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