How Not to Write Business Email

Five Tips on how NOT to write business email

Are you guilty of any of these? Remember, this is how not to write business email.

Maybe you like living dangerously. Perhaps you’re a reckless thrill-seeker who enjoys risking your reputation, your job and your business. If so, follow these five, easy steps:


#1: Always send an email, especially when you’re angry or upset

Let’s face it, a good email argument is a great way to pass an otherwise boring afternoon in the office. And it’s amazing just how articulate you feel when you’re emotional!


Of course, things may look a little different after the dust has settled…

Emotional discussions are rife with misunderstandings at the best of times. Email is also notorious for misinterpretation. Put the two together and you can almost guarantee fireworks!

So if a damaged relationship is your primary goal, ignore the phone, don’t walk down the corridor for a face-to-face chat, just type out all those witty insults and self-justifications and press ‘send’.

See you in court!


#2: Send first, check later

This is the email equivalent of playing ‘chicken’.


For best results, choose a message that’s important to you, such as a proposal, a job application, or a message to your best customer.

Even better, pick one that also has a wide distribution.


Now, quickly type your message and send it without checking grammar, spelling, or logical inconsistencies.

NEVER show it to anyone first as they are very likely to pick up on some glaring error or omission that completely undermines your message and/or credibility, thus spoiling the whole game.

Done? OK, now go back and check what you just sent.

Congratulations! I can guarantee it will contain at least one mistake that you wish to God you’d caught first.

And you get ten bonus points if it’s so bad you have to recall the message or send out a revision with an apology.


#3: Respond to emails as they arrive

There are two good reasons for this.


Firstly it means your productivity will go right down because you are constantly distracted. Multi-tasking is actually a very inefficient way of working.

In extreme cases you may not even manage to finish an email before starting the…

Secondly, it trains people to expect an immediate response from you, so they start writing to you more often.

Soon you’re getting 60 ‘urgent’ emails a minute from irate colleagues, bosses and clients chasing the work you haven’t had time to do (because you’re too busy answering emails) and you’re totally overwhelmed. Happy days!


#4: Send private messages by email

You probably already know about the high-profile, saucy emails that got into the wrong hands and went ‘viral’ on the internet (who doesn’t?)


If flirting with global notoriety is a bit too scary, you could just send off-colour jokes to your colleagues, or biting criticisms of the HR Director, and see what happens.

It’s a bit of a lottery, but if you do it often enough, sooner or later you’ll get caught and could even face the sack and/or an employment tribunal.


#5: Send it to everyone

OK, this one is relatively mild. Good for the risk-averse, or if you’re just starting out.


The easiest way is to hit ‘reply all’ to a message that’s been sent to the whole company. This will annoy some, amuse others. Either way, few will thank you for clogging up their inbox.

Or you could cause minor irritation by sending your email to everyone you can think of, regardless of whether it is relevant to them or not. If you are sending a notification of your birthday, for example, include all the Senior Managers and their PAs.

It won’t get you the sack, but it will demonstrate how little consideration you have for other people’s time. Magic!

So, that’s how not to write business email.

Assuming, though, that you do want to progress in your career, click here for top tips to save a day a week by managing your email.

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