Three Easy-To-Make Email Mistakes That Undermine Your Credibility At Work


by Anna Brech |
Published on

We spend an average of 36 days a year composing emails, but that doesn't mean each one is a beautifully worded missive.

In fact, the more emails we send, the more likely we are to get sloppy and simply fire off messages without much thought to our tone, structure or grammar.

But this is a rookie mistake, according to an eminent communications expert.

Danny Rubin, author of Wait, How Do I Write This Email?, says the art of crafting a good memo is undervalued at work.

He argues that if employees, and especially managers, could learn to hone their writing skills, it would boost their authority and make the whole team more confident and cohesive.

In an article on his website (reported via Business Insider), Rubin lays out three easy email errors we all make that should be avoided, and how to avoid them:


1. Procrastination

"Don’t put the main point at the end of your email," says Rubin.

"It’s confusing to your team and also makes employees feel like you’re afraid to step forward with big decisions."

He advises being "upfront" about what you have to say, whether you're broadcasting good news, suggesting improvements or passing on difficult feedback.

2. Long paragraphs

According to Rubin, "People... don’t want to read giant paragraphs that never seem to end.

"And if that’s the way you always operate, employees will begin to avoid your emails because they know what awaits them."

He recommends breaking up big chunks of text into smaller sections of 1-3 sentences each and also going through your emails with a fine-tooth comb before sending, to work out which words or phrases are unnecessary.

3. Random capitalization

Sure, it's annoying to have nit-pick over whether certain words need capitals or not - but it'll save you sweat in the long-run.

"Small editing details make a huge difference particularly when you write the same people day after day," says Rubin. "Your mistakes will wear on them."

He suggests this easy-to-follow rule: capitalize proper nouns (example: "Nike" but not "running shoes") and leave job titles in lower case unless they precede someone’s name (example: "Vice President Jane Doe" or "Jane Doe, vice president… ").

And there you have it. Your email fails = sorted.

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