Has this ever happened to you?
You check your email, and an email awaits with select text typed in all caps. Parts of the text are also in the color red. Others bolded.
Emphasis is Always Over-Emphasized
This morning, an email with caps and bold red type greeted me in my inbox. Not the best way to start your day. I believe there is no place for typing in all caps or formatting to reflect emphasis in business emails. Here’s why…
When all caps are used, you consciously increase your voice and tone. True professionals do not communicate in this manner.
What could an email structured like this portray about the sender?
The email I received checked all those boxes.
None of the above contribute to a positive impression or encourage long-term business relationships. That’s why I recommend choosing your words carefully instead of relying on formatting to make a point.
There are always alternatives in choosing verbiage to communicate your point with the intended importance. Suppose you are not a skilled communicator with the written word; no time like the present to improve those skills. This is what email is, after all.
Say No! to Formatting
Many business groups and forums allow users to post messages with added smileys and format their text for font, size, and color. When marketing your business in forums, groups, and blogs, avoid formatting as a communication crutch.
For business efforts, this is a situation of just because you can doesn’t mean you do. Think of formatting as the exception to the rule. Let your command of the written word and vocabulary use get your point across without relying on formatting to do so for you.
Intent is Intent
Caps, larger fonts, bolder, and red type will indicate a strong comment or point of view. Anticipate a reaction that is above and beyond what you may have intended.
If you ask anyone to read an email out loud that includes caps, they will almost always raise their voice when reading capped text. Watch how they emphasize the larger, bolder, or red text.
You’ve lost control of your message. Willingly and based on the formatting choices you make.
Business communications of all types are about relaying and controlling the message. When you format your text, you lose that control and leave the level of emphasis to be determined by the recipient.
My experience shows that your emphasis will often be overemphasized to the point of misunderstanding. Also, expect different levels of perceived emphasis depending on the relationship with the person you are communicating with.
Learning to communicate without formatting is an actual skill, and few try to hone it. Imagine how you can stand out from your perceived competitors by always having a cogent communication style regardless of the difficulty of the situation.
Work towards communicating with clarity simply by the words you choose and how you choose to use them. Not relying on bolding, font size, caps, or colors is the true sign of a skilled communicator and professional.