We have all received an abrasive email where the sender should have either picked up the phone or stopped by to discuss the issue face to face. It is important when responding to emails that you have a very professional email response. Today there is proper email etiquette that when not followed makes you look poor.
So what do you do when you receive such an email? Follow these simple steps to avert any problems and let your personal brand come out the better for it.
Follow this How to reply to emails guide:
1. Read the email.
Now that you have that dreaded step out of the way you are in the best position possible – you have been educated about the problem and can get on with fixing it. Know that underneath their anger, the sender realizes that you have the skills needed to solve the issue at hand.
2. Go get a drink of water.
Get rid of the anger before reacting. Do anything: work on something else, get up and walk around, read a joke. It is important to take your mind off of the email immediately. Don’t pick up the phone and call someone else because most likely you will take out your anger on them. Just do something neutral and let your racing mind relax.
3. Reread the email.
Presumably when the first nerve was struck you zoned out. It is important to reread the entire email, even try reading it out loud. You want to understand the entire problem so that you can make an educated, calm and collected response. This helps you form a professional email response.
4. Draft your professional email response.
This is your opportunity to shine. Most likely half the office was copied on the email, so you have to be at your best. Notice that I wrote, “Write your response,” not “Send your response.” You want to make sure you respond with a positive tone to give your readers peace of mind. Do not criticize the individual that sent you the message, as this will only cause further conflict. The best bet is to tackle the problem head on, get it resolved, and move on as quickly as possible. Stalling and not responding for days will only increase the scale of the issue.
5. Still thirsty?
That’s right, it is time for another drink of water. Most likely your first response is not entirely up to par. You are still frustrated and need to cool off again before finalizing the message.
6. Sit back down and reread what you wrote.
Make sure it is well written and that you address the problem to the fullest. It is important to include an adequate level of detail as to how you plan to solve the problem, but still make sure the tone is correct. You want to show that you understand the importance of the issue and that you are taking it seriously. You do not want to make it appear to the recipients that you believe yourself to be above the problem or that the problem is too petty to worry about.
7. Send the response.
If you are confident that it portrays you in the best light possible then it is ready. At this point, the problem should have a clear plan for resolution. In one response, you have the power to make everything peaceful again.
When responding to emails, your response should not personally attack the person whatsoever. Pretend that you are writing a response to a computer that has no emotions, so why waste your time? It is best to keep the response short and sweet. Kill your sender with kindness – nothing makes you look better. There is no place for swears in emails, despite what some think. All curse words do is escalate the situation unnecessarily. A good rule of thumb is what I like to call the “grandma rule.” If your grandmother were to read the response would she be offended? If it passes the grandma rule, it will pass the boss test.
Email has been known to cost people their jobs, simply because it is so easy to act in the moment and not think about the repercussions of your actions. Don’t let it do the same to you. Don’t forget the proper email etiquette. If possible, it may be even better to go and meet the email sender face to face after getting that drink of water. Keep in mind this how to respond to emails guide and it will go a long ways ensuring you are following proper email etiquette. That way, you tackle the problem at the source and keep your job.