How to be Your Professional Self Over Email

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You know how to walk in to a client meeting with confidence and put hours into crafting the perfect elevator speech. You have a go-to outfit for every type of interview and networking event. Your online image reflects just the right combination of certified expert and approachable girlfriend. You’re a professional.

What if you aren’t reflecting that where it matters most? Email is often the first (and sometimes, only) way you will communicate with potential clients or sponsors. Make sure you leave them in awe and admiration of your professional communication skills after each message passes through their inbox.

Set a Standard Response Time

Set a realistic goal for how long it’ll take you to respond to your emails. Maybe it’s 24 hours…maybe it’s more like 4 days. Whatever it may be, set it and stick to it. If you find yourself getting weighed down with work or life in general, set a polite auto-reply that says “hey, it may take me longer than usual to get back to you”. Only, try something more like these templates from 4 Hour Work Week.

It’s All About Them

Your emails should tell the reader one thing. What are you doing for them? Even if you’re just asking a client for more input on their logo design, make it clear that you’re only asking so that you can make them the logo they’ve always dreamed of.

Keep It Brief + Ask Early

When you’re sending a cold email to your favorite big-time blogger about a fabulous collaboration idea, it’s tempting to open with a long ramble about why you love them and how long you’ve loved them and your top ten favorite posts they’ve written and on and on. Instead, offer a brief introduction and be upfront about you’re asking for. Upfront, as in, within the first five sentences, tops.  Respect their time and their bombarded inbox. You’re a thousand times more likely to get a response if your email isn’t ignored.

Proofread. Please, Please, Please Proofread.

Grammar and spelling mistakes are a huge flag that you didn’t bother spending enough time looking at an email. Making someone feel unworthy of your time is a pretty big turn off in anybody’s book. If you’re not confident about proofing your own writing, try using applications like Grammarly or Hemingway. They’ll help you with the technical stuff and simplify your content.

What tricks do you use to sound like the consummate professional over email?