Tips for Sending Professional Emails

Have you ever sent an email, only to realize afterward that you misspelled a word or used poor grammar? Unfortunately, there’s no rewind when it comes to sending an email, so it’s important that you get it right the first time. What follows are four great tips that you can use to insure that you send a professional email every time:

  1. Double Check Your Email

In order to send an email without mistakes, the best thing to do is double-check your efforts.

Areas in an email to double-check include:

Recipients – is everyone that needs to be included in the email, included in the right field (To/Cc/Bcc)? It’s not uncommon to forget to click “Reply All” when responding to an email that was sent with multiple recipients.

Tone – is the message in the email written in a positive and professional tone? Be careful when it comes to tone. Remind yourself of how you’d like to be talked to. Do not reprimand your customers!

Spelling, Grammar & Mechanics – Check your spelling (most email platforms include a built-in spell check function. Did you use proper grammar (conjunctions, prepositions, etc) and include the right punctuation (periods, commas, question marks, etc)?

Attachments – Did you mention an attachment in the message and actually attach it? It’s not uncommon to forget that second part! No one wants to receive a second email apology, e.g. “I’m so sorry that I forgot to attach the document in the previous email. Here it is.”

  1. Save Important Emails to Folders

Whenever I receive an important email from a client, the first thing I do after responding to it is move the email to a specific folder. For instance, if it’s a client I deal with on a regular basis, I have a folder named after the client, i.e. emails from SGHS are moved to my “SGHS” folder. Folders make it easier to categorize important messages, while also keeping your inbox clean and without clutter.

  1. DO NOT Use Emoticons & Emojis

Have you ever received an email from a colleague or client with emoticons or emojis in the message? Probably not, and neither have I. Why is this? Because it’s unprofessional. If you like to send emoticons and emojis, make sure you do so only in personal messages, not messages to clients or customers. Even if you are really happy, a smiley emoticon sent to a client is sending the wrong message.

  1. Use a Professional Signature

Just like emoticons, avoid playful nicknames and usernames in your signature. Keep your signature professional by including your full name, role or position, company and additional contact info (e.g. phone number). Some might even include an inspiring quote from a influential philosopher or entrepreneur.

***

That’s it! You’ve now learned great tips that you can use to insure that you send professional emails every time.

Want to learn more? Check out my course Business ESL: Administrative Tasks for Virtual Assistants.

Things Good Teachers Routinely Do Right

From my experience, teaching is a lot like being an athlete. There’s a ton of preparation, a need for flexibility, and you have to be physically and mentally strong to face the day and be successful. Naturally, regular routines are a key ingredient to that success. Here are a few things that good teachers routinely do right:

Listen to Student Feedback

Like most, my first year as a teacher had its highs and lows, and there were a few classes that I struggled with more than others. To help me better manage the classroom, I used a student notes box which allowed students to tell me how they felt about the class and whether or not there was something they’d like to see change. My students definitely took to the idea. I’d often find notes in the box from students and be clueless as to when they had dropped them off. Keep in mind, students can be brutally honest, but the feedback is also invaluable for improving classroom management and reminding yourself of what it was once like to be a student.

Write Objectives on the Board

One requirement of my administrators was to have my objectives written on the board for students to see. Not only was this important and helpful to students–giving them a heads up on what they could expect during our 90-minute block–but it also helped me process the structure of my lesson before my students arrived.

Model Expectations

One way I would model what I expected to happen when students worked in pairs or groups, was to simulate the behaviors I expected to see from all students, with one student in front of the entire classroom. I would often choose a disruptive or typically non-compliant student to model with. I think that helped by both giving the student desired attention, and starting the day off right with the student, which improved the chances that the student and the rest of the class would meet expectations and objectives.

Alter Lesson Plans

Another requirement of my administrators was lesson plans, and your entire week was due before the start of the week. This meant a lot of work on the weekends throughout my first semester, and a lot of reflection during my second time around. There were times when I would look at the lesson plans that I had used a half year before and shake my head, thinking “What kind of activity is this?!”, which isn’t such a bad thing after all. Like objectives, lesson plans help me process the structure of my lesson before I enter the classroom. If I know an activity didn’t go as planned the first time around, I alter the activity or replace it all together.

Be the Leader of the Classroom

Being the leader of the classroom is essential to having a healthy and productive learning environment. A healthy and productive learning environment is driven by attainable and understandable expectations and procedures. Without a teacher to lead the classroom, expectations will not be understood and procedures will never be followed. If I’m not the leader, no one will be.

Read Subject Books During the Summer Break

Finally…summer break! Not only is summer the time to recharge and relax for teachers who’ve spent countless hours preparing lessons and activities for their students long after dismissal, it’s also the time to continue one’s professional development, and that includes the kind your state’s DOE doesn’t give you credit for, like reading books related to your subject. This is where I get all my interesting anecdotes and factoids that only serve to broaden my ideas for activities and strengthen the appeal of my lectures. I even share these books with my students. For example, in my 8th grade civics class, when I ended the unit on the political process, I wrote on the Smartboard:

Suggested Reading: The Waxman Report: How Congress Really Works by Henry A. Waxman

In response, a student skeptically said to me, “You know no one’s really going to read that, right?” I laughed. She was probably right, but as a teacher, part of my core philosophy involves the belief in the minority thinker; the eccentric; the one kid who sneakily writes that book title down in the margin of her notebook.

***

What do you think a good teacher routinely does right? Leave your comments below and sign up for my free newsletter to receive more education tips and blog posts.

3 English Phrases to Use At the End of the Work Week

Unless you are in an industry like retail or the restaurant business, which tends to require weekend hours, the typical work week for full time workers in the United States and many other countries is Monday through Friday. The following are 3 business English phrases you might hear and use at the end of a long work week:

Thank goodness it’s Friday!

This phrase is so common place that there’s even a chain restaurant inspired by it. After all the meetings, the scheduling, the tasks and project deadlines, you’ve made it to the end of the week! You’ve walked into the office or logged onto your laptop on a Friday morning, and you have a full day ahead of you, but the weekend is on the way. Thank goodness it’s Friday! (there’s even a variation for you grumpy folks out there, myself included: Thank god…!) I recommend saying this to yourself, colleagues and associates to start your day off positive.

Any plans for the weekend?

This is a question that you can pose to a colleague. You are asking if they are doing anything exciting, unique or special during their time off from work. In some cases, it’s a precursor to asking a colleague to join you somewhere at some point during the weekend or for a coworker to invite you to an event/a dinner party/etc. One caveat for customer service reps: I do not recommend you ask this to customers over the phone; they want you to fix the problem that they’ve come to you with, not share with you their weekend plans. In short, keep this one between staff and friends.

I hope you get a chance/find time to relax.

I once had a superintendent who would send a weekly email before the weekend to celebrate staff birthdays, make district announcements, and offer strategies and suggestions to attain success in the classroom. He would always sign off or close the email with the advice to “relax and recharge” for the following work week. It was kind of like a drill sergeant’s version of this phrase: I hope you get a chance (OR) I hope you find time to relax. What you are doing when saying this to a colleague, even a manager, is acknowledging the hard work that the person has put in over the course of the last 5 days, and that you recognize that they deserve a break, and hope that they take some time to sit back and enjoy the weekend, instead of worrying about work.

What are your favorite phrases to use at the end of the week? Are there any that you’ve heard, yet don’t quite fully understand?

Leave your comments below, sign up for our newsletter to receive more free business English tips, and have a great weekend!