Bridging the Generation Gap with Emails
The generation gap still exists, and one of the places where it’s most visible is in the inbox of your email.
When the Baby Boomer generation embarked on their careers, written correspondence was done on actual paper, via letters and memos that had strict rules as to formatting, slang, abbreviations.
Millennials have grown up with technology as part of their lives, and use the written word to communicate via texting more than anything else. For the most part, proper spelling, and punctuation isn’t a top priority. Our use of emoticons, internet slang and texting on the go has made our messaging apps a grammatical free-for-all.
When communicating at work, it’s in your best interest to use proper, professional English when sending emails. Not to say that every email has to meet the standards of a thesis, but a well-written, professional, and to-the-point email reflects well on you and helps achieve goals efficiently.
Here are some key rules to follow when sending a work-related email:
- Stick to the subject: Your subject line should give a clear indication of what your email is about. If you’re sending out a reminder about a meeting to discuss the third-quarter numbers, make the subject “third-quarter meeting tomorrow,” as opposed to just “meeting.”
- Proofread: Yeah, you’re a young rebel who can’t concern themselves with details like commas, periods and spelling, but gaffes are going to be viewed as unprofessional, not something to be admired. Read your email carefully before hitting “send.”
- Don’t get too personal. Asking someone if they enjoyed their vacation, or if their kid won their soccer game can help personalize a professional relationship a bit, but don’t bog down emails with details of your personal life, and certainly never complain about your job or co-workers. The old rule is not to include anything in an email you wouldn’t be comfortable with the whole world reading.
- Beware the ‘reply all’ button. If you’re part of a group email, you might want to think about whether or not everyone needs to know the information you’re sending. If you consistently send emails to co-workers that they don’t need, it can have a Boy-Who-Cried-Wolf effect, and lead to people ignoring you.
- Also beware forwarding. It’s so easy to hit reply and forward, but there are times where you have to put a little extra work in and actually start a new email thread. This is particularly important when emailing clients. You don’t want to forward outsiders a string of exchanges that share your company’s business practices, or a thread that might contain complaints from co-workers.
Follow these tips and your emails can help you stand out and maybe even get ahead. In addition to honing your email communication, find out some tips on safe browsing and how to reduce risks using a public computer.
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