6 Cs of Writing a Professional Email

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Munadil Shafat
Student (MBA), Bangladesh

6 Cs of Writing a Professional Email

🔥NEW No matter how many new digital means of communications exist, the old-school email still has an important place in professional and personal settings. Those of us who use email regularly know that some errors are really common, like when we forget to add an important attachment, find a silly spelling mistake just after hitting the send button, or send an email without greetings or signature.
Another thing is that a lot of our emails remain unnoticed everyday. Most of these situations can be avoided to some extent if we remember and practice the 6 Cs of Writing Emails properly. So here we go:
  1. CLEAR: Make the purpose of writing your email clear at the very beginning preferably in the first one or two sentences. Use the subject field as much as possible for that purpose.
  2. CONCISE: Body of your email should be concise and constructed with short sentences or the reader may lose motivation to read it. Vanessa van Edwards from Scienceofpeople believes an email should be written under 3 paragraphs otherwise one should consider other means of communication. She proposes the following 'rule of thumb' that you might find handy:
    • One line message: Use chat.
    • Within 3 paragraphs: Use email.
    • More than 3 paragraphs: Consider a phone call or voice message or a video email.
    • More than 5 questions: Video call.
  3. COMPLETE: Structurally, an email should have a subject line, then a greeting line, followed by your message, a closing remark, your sign and attachments (if any). Also you should ensure your message passed the 5W1H (Who, What, Where, When, Why, How) test. Make it complete in all senses.
  4. CORRECT: When writing email, people generally make mistakes in the following four areas:
    • Grammar
    • Punctuation
    • Usage
    • Spelling
    Correct them before sending your next emails.
  5. COURTEOUS: In an Email Writing workshop I attended, the host Jennifer Fitzgerald analogized communications to building a bridge. Where your goal is to build a strong, sturdy bridge. Interpersonal communication, done well, will add a stone or two and make the relationship stronger. Done poorly, you take away a stone, or two, and the relationship suffers, is weaker and may eventually, tumble into the water. So be respectful to your reader(s). Use polite words, show professionalism in every aspect of your communication.
  6. CUSTOM-MADE: We deal hoards of emails each day. In a world of information overload, it is a regular phenomenon that a chunk of them always stay without noticed. To ensure yours ones always get read first, it is important to customize it from bottom up. Readers always subconsciously ask WIIFM i.e. What's In It For Me? when they skim through their inbox. To capture their attention, the 6th C is very important in my opinion. So, always utilize every scope for customization when crafting and formatting the message, the greetings and most importantly the subject line of your email.
⇨ These were the 6 Cs of Email Writing. Can you think of another C for sending proper emails? Leave me a reaction! Thanks...

Sources:
Jennifer Fitzgerald, Email Writing Workshop.
Vanessa Van Edwards, "Choose your mode carefully", Science of People.
Kamini Taneja, "The 5 Cs of Email Writing", British Council.

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

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It's important to be concise, because you can easily lose your public with long explanations. I am just starting out in consulting and will certainly use these tips when constructing my future Emails...

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If I had to add a 7th C, it would be "Credibility". Over time, the other 6 C's help build the writer's credibility (as of course do a number of other behavioural factors). Once credibility has been es...

  Munadil Shafat
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@Graham Williams: I can't agree any further about your 7th C. Just wondering about the ways to do that... Can you share some hints from your own experience?...

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