E-Mails sollten so kurz wie möglich formuliert sein. Verzichten Sie zu Gunsten der Kürze jedoch nicht auf Freundlichkeit und Etikette.
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Writing emails looks so easy. It is, but it’s also very easy to sound impolite. One of the main problems is that people often don’t make enough effort. Physically, writing an email is not a lot of work; you don’t have to bother with things like typing the address and date, and you don’t have to print the message out, sign it and stick it in an envelope. It’s all very quick, but this certainly should not mean that an email takes little effort to compose.
Of course, this applies to your own language, too. But when you’re writing in English, it’s an even bigger challenge. If you’re not careful, you might end up sounding abrupt or even bossy!
Luckily, it’s not too difficult to get it right. These 5 rules will help you.
1 Imagine you’re making a phone call
When you call someone, you don’t immediately launch into your request or other content, do you? You greet them. Do the same when you email them.
When you are emailing back and forth, you don’t need to repeat the greeting. Think of it like an exchange on the phone. You don’t say “Hi John” each time you answer one of John’s questions. But do greet your reader once more when you start a conversation again the next day.
2 Be careful how you use the other person’s name
We all appreciate being addressed by name, whether in person, on the phone or in email. But in an email, you have to be careful how you use someone’s name. For instance, a name without a greeting can show that you are on friendly terms with someone. But it can also seem slightly cool, or even impolite, especially if you follow it with a colon.
3 Add some warmth to your message
When you’re talking with someone, you can express warmth through your voice. In email, you have to do this through language. Words and phrases that add warmth to your email include appreciate, delighted, enjoy, excellent, excited about and so on.
4 Ask, don’t tell
On the phone, you can usually tell if someone is offended by their reaction. They will go quiet, or search for words, or even get angry. In email, you can’t gauge the reaction so you need to be very careful. A good trick is to ask rather than tell.
5 Use a warm and friendly close
When you end a phone call, you don’t say “Yours sincerely”. You might say “Thanks, Angela. Talk to you next week,” or “Talk to you later. Bye.” End your email the same way – warmly!
These Secretary Today tips will remind you that although email is a fast medium, it is not something you should dash off without thought. They will help you write emails that people will love to read and be delighted to respond to. Try them out. I'm sure you and your boss will be delighted with the results!
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