Professional Communications

I’ve been told, and like to believe, that my writing is of fairly high quality in general, even when unedited (as an example, most of the articles on this blog are completely unedited). I try, to the best of my abilities, to maintain a high standard of professionalism in my writing at all times, since I never know who might end up reading it. That’s not to say that there aren’t errors in my writing, but that they are generally of a grammatical nature, not with inappropriate content.

I’m not referring to use of certain crude words or phrases – while I try to keep such language out of my writing, I do understand that for some people, this is considered normal content. I don’t think such phrasing belongs in a professional communique, but that’s just my opinion.

However, there is never an excuse for including personal information in an email which is not relevant to the recipient. Yes, gossip does move around, and some people are more prone to involving themselves in such conversations. But to include that in an email, in a business environment, to someone to whom this information is completely irrelevant, is completely and totally inappropriate.

When I saw an email from a business owner in which there was not a single correctly formed sentence, I was shocked by the lack of professionalism in her writing. When I read the content, and found comments about a former employee, I was astounded that she was able to keep anyone working for her. Inclusions of phrases commonly heard, but rarely written (for example, I was like thinking) which are heard because people often start talking before they’ve thought out the conclusion of the sentence, indicated to me that I had no desire to continue written communications with her.

Are my rules fair? Was I too harsh on her for not spending an extra few minutes on that email to clean it up?

Perhaps I was harsh, but I do feel it was deserved. If someone wants me to spend a few minutes reading an email from them, the least they can do is remove the irrelevant content, ensure that the phrasing is professional, and that the email flows from beginning to end.

A professional email:

  • Gets to the point
  • Includes all relevant information
  • Does not contain any irrelevant information
  • Uses proper phrasing and sentence structure

The more of those points an email fails to meet, the less likely it is that communication will be continuing smoothly.

One last point.

With the availability of tools to check spelling, there is no longer any excuse for a spelling mistake. If there is a single bit of editing that you do on your writing, it should be to ensure that a spell check does not pick up a single mistake.