Did you know that one bad email can single-handedly ruin your reputation? When you send an email with a typo, you can be perceived as uneducated. When you choose to let emails go unanswered, you appear careless. When you regularly respond to emails curtly, you can be viewed as unprofessional.
Typos occur when we’re in a rush, rudeness comes naturally on bad days, and sometimes emails get lost in the mix, but in terms of professional relationships, these excuses rarely hold up. Don’t worry, though, there’s plenty you can do to maintain your inbox.
Throughout the work day, we are all bombarded with emails, from blog subscriptions to person-to-person conversations, and it’s impractical to manually sort through them all. There are a few ways you can automate how your inbox is organized. Most email services provide settings to automate email categorization by social, promotional, updates, and more. You can go the extra mile by setting labels to filter incoming emails, too.
Many of us are guilty of hoarding old emails that will never be of any importance. The thought of clicking through pages of emails to get to the skeletons of our inboxes is absolutely grueling. The solution to that is in the search bar above your emails, where you can identify what emails are old enough to delete. Simply plug in “before: YYYY/MM/DD” and voila! You can then select all the emails prior to a date of your choosing and delete them at once.
Once you have your inbox decluttered and your emails categorized, you can now give high priority emails the proper time and attention. A best practice is to set aside a time of day to dedicate to your inbox. A study found that 50% of executives begin their work day by checking their email. Whereas, some of the most successful executives wake up earlier than the average person to read and respond to emails before even arriving to work. If they can do it, so can we.
When we open an email, it can become a force of habit to skim rather than thoroughly read its content. This habit may save time, but when you go to respond it can become a pitfall. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who’s distracted? How do you feel when they give a depthless, unengaged response? Unimportant, disrespected, ignored? That’s how the person on the receiving end of the email feels. Read emails with the goal of giving a meaningful response, it’ll not only improve business relationships, it’ll teach us to be better listeners, and allow people to feel heard, too. How heartwarming.
Another common bad habit is hastily responding to emails. Again, it’s a time-saving trap; the more rapidly we respond, the sooner we can move on to our next task. The issue with writing quickly though is the sloppiness that comes with it. As Rachel Sugar of Business Insider said, “like mortality, typos are part of the human condition. Someday we'll all die, and someday we'll all send an email with scrambled letters.” But just like you would try to avoid car crash to save your life, you should try to avoid typos to save your job--just a thought. As you get into the practice of taking the time to read your emails (not skim!), you should also get in the routine of double checking your emails before hitting send. If you struggle with grammar and spelling, the Grammarly app will be your saving grace--yes, we’ve raved about Grammarly on the Brio Blog before, it’s just that good.
Sadly, there isn’t an app or tool to immediately improve our bad days. Regardless, for the sake of reputation, relationships, and job security, it’s crucial we don’t allow our negative attitudes to seep into our professional surroundings. Luckily enough, we can hide our facial expressions when communicating through email, while other emotional cues might take more of an effort. Put yourself in the shoes of your future self, how proud will you be for the tension you cause? The feeling that should arise when you think of that scenario is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance. It’s term for the internal conflict that arises when your beliefs of who you are don’t align with your actions. If you believe you are a professional, make sure your actions align. Simple as that.
Psst: Now that your email is conquered, find out how to improve other areas of your work life here.
Katie Hagan is one of the newest Brio Solution team members. As Operations and Communications Assistant, Katie is at the forefront of Brio's digital marketing refresher. She will frequently be providing a vast amount of new content to the Brio Blog. Leave a note to let her know how she's doing, she'd love to chat