Managing email can be one of the most-time consuming tasks on your schedule, no matter what your job. Studies show that the average office worker now receives more than 100 emails per day.
But no matter how many messages you send or receive each day, email is a critical part of professional communication. That's why bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch says you need to develop top-notch email etiquette and ensure that all of your electronic communication is clear and purposeful.
"You have got to do email right," Welch tells CNBC Make It. "Emails are nothing less than written evidence of your organizational savvy."
Below, Welch shares four email blunders that you should avoid making at all costs:
Subject lines serve as the key introduction to your email, and Welch says it's important that you always send one that means something.
She advises that you forego one-word shortcuts like "Question," "Connecting," or, her least favorite, "Hi" in a subject line.
"Respect your recipient," she says, "by stating your explicit purpose and sense of timing with the likes of, 'Question about staffing: EOD response please.'"
When sending an email, Welch says you want to be mindful of your target recipients — including too many people or too few can be seen as careless or, even worse, calculating.
"You can CC higher-ups in an obvious play to impress them, or you can CC people in an obvious play to cover your hind quarters," she says. "These behaviors are both office politics, and are lost on no one. Be thoughtful."
Welch emphasizes that it's essential you read everything twice before pushing "send."
"You may like to write off-the-cuff, train-of-thought messages, because it's fast and easy," she says, "but no one wants to receive them, OK? No one."
She explains that before sending your message, you want to be sure to edit the content for "clarity, succinctness, grammar and, last but not least, tone."
"It will take five minutes," she says. "Spend them."
How you end your email can leave a lasting impression on your recipient. That's why Welch advises you give serious thought to how you close your messages.
"There's the pompous use of initials, the generic use of 'Best,' and the absence of a sign-off entirely, which is just kind of rude," she says. "My advice is to customize your sign-off for each email."
She says things like, "Thanks for giving this thought," or "Look forward to talking with you about this tomorrow," are appropriate sign-offs for any email to a colleague or boss.
Emails, Welch says, "can so easily come back to help you or haunt you in your career — and they will."
Avoid these common mistakes and make sure your email address is one that anyone is glad to see in their inbox.
Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. If you have questions about your own career, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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