Has this ever happened to you?
You check your email, and there awaits an email with select text typed in all caps. Parts of the text are also in the color red. Others bolded.
- Why are they so upset?
- What did I do, didn’t do, say, didn’t say?
Emphasis is Always Over-Emphasized
An email with caps and bold red type greeted me in my inbox this morning. Not the best way to start your day. In my view, there is no place for typing in all caps or using formatting to reflect emphasis in business emails.
When all caps are used, you make a conscious choice to increase your voice and tone. Unfortunately, true professionals do not communicate in this manner.
What could an email structured like this portray about the sender?
- Lack of Communication Skills
The email I received checked all those boxes.
None of the above contribute to a positive impression or to encourage long-term business relationships. That’s why I recommend that you choose your words carefully instead of having to rely on formatting to make a point.
There are always alternatives in choosing verbiage to get your point across 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 you are marketing your business in forums, groups and blogs, avoid using 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 get your point across without relying on formatting to do so for you.
Intent is Intent
Caps, larger fonts, bolder and in 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 increase the emphasis on the larger, bolder, or red text.
Business communications of all types are about 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 your emphasis will be overemphasized many times to the point of misunderstanding. Also, expect different levels of perceived emphasis depending on the relationship with the person you are communicating with.
You’ve lost control of your message. Willingly and based on the formatting choices you make.
Learning how to communicate without formatting is an actual skill, and few make much effort 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.