Dear Ilana and Jess: I’m applying to college this fall and, in the process, I’m writing a lot of professional emails. How do I make them sound, well, professional? – Sophia
Dear Sophia: Your instincts are correct. Before you enter the professional world (and even college), you have to learn to communicate effectively via email. This is standard practice in college and beyond.
To begin, double check everything. The stakes can be quite high for written communication, even when it comes to quick emails. Whenever you put pen to paper - or fingers to keys - and add your name, you’re representing yourself. Make sure that you’ve spelled everything correctly and that you’re using the correct grammar. Make sure you’re sending the email to the right people; your phone and computer can play some dirty tricks with your contacts.
Make sure you understand the difference between copy (CC) and blind copy (BCC.) When you include someone in the copy (CC) line, it means that all of the recipients can see that they’ve been added to the email. When you add someone to the blind copy (BCC) line, it means the recipients can’t see that they’ve been added to the email.
Format emails correctly; always start with a greeting appropriate to the recipient. You want an email to be visually pleasing and easy to read, so put spaces between the greeting, body paragraphs, and sign off. It’s always a good idea to have an email signature that includes your phone number (if you’re comfortable with this).
Have an objective. Before you even sit down to write an email, you should know why you’re writing. Is it to ask a question? Is it to follow up on an application? Make sure the purpose of the email comes across clearly in your message. For example, you may want to end your email with a statement like, “please advise,” or “please confirm.” Try to get all the important information down in one email, rather than sending multiples.
Timing is important. Whether you are a worker, student, both or neither, it’s best to respond promptly. Wait no longer than 24 hours to respond to non-urgent emails.
Say This: “Dear X,
My name is Sophia (Last Name), and I am a student at (Your School). It’s a pleasure to be introduced. I’m reaching out to schedule a time for us to speak regarding my application. Please let me know when you’re available for a quick call and I will do my best to accommodate your schedule. I look forward to speaking!
(Your Email Signature).”
Not That: “Hi, are you available to talk this week? Let me know.”
Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: https://cognitionbuilders.com. To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/books/detail?sku=9781449488055.
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