Writing emails can be daunting. You know what you want to say but don’t know the best way to say it. Our sales experts use a handful of tactics to ensure our written ideas are smart and straightforward. Here are some favorites:
READ WHAT YOU WROTE ALOUD
Hearing your words out loud is a good way to check clarity and concision—while catching errors. We often write more formally than we speak in an attempt to sound professional, but professional doesn’t have to mean incomprehensible. Read your email to yourself at least once to ensure your message is clear. Look out for repeated words, misspelled names, and autocorrect fails.
GET FRESH EYES ON YOUR WORDS
Self-editing is challenging since we know what we mean to say, but others might not understand it. Having a colleague look over your writing ensures you’re getting your point across. Plus, two heads are always better than one when it comes to catching typos or small errors.
READ GOOD WRITING
An effective way to better your writing is to better your reading. We are big proponents of the 40/20 rule, and spending some of your 20 hours reading quality publications will strengthen your written communication. Check out your city newspaper or pull up the Harvard Business Review. Read anything that interests you as long as the writing is strong!
HIRE A PROFESSIONAL
If it’s in the budget, hiring a professional editor or content writer is a worthwhile investment. This takes the stress out of content creation and email writing and ensures you’re always sounding your best.
Our recommended methods for improving your writing focus on building good habits. If you don’t have the time, or you know that you are prone to certain errors, some online tools can help. Make sure to exercise caution when using automated editors—all are fallible and can miss some major kinks in your writing. Don’t check your brain at the door!
- Grammarly – This software checks for spelling and grammatical errors and can help polish your writing in a pinch. This program is great for quick email or memo checks but can be blind to major errors such as missing apostrophes, misplaced words (think ‘defiantly’ instead of ‘definitely’), and sentence fragments. If you tend to make spelling or typing errors, this can cut down the number you need to catch for yourself.
- Hemingway – The Hemingway app ensures your writing is concise by highlighting overwritten, lengthy sentences. It can be great for whittling down excess words and crafting to-the-point communication. While it isn’t totally accurate on parts of speech and can suck the voice out of your writing, it’s essential if you tend to be long-winded.
- Readability Tool – Readability scoring tools can help ensure your audience understands your writing. Studies show that most readers engage best with content written at a 6th grade level. Running your words through a scoring tool can make sure you’re close to your grade level target. But you and your colleagues know your clients and prospects best—reading your words aloud or getting input from a colleague are also important checks.
Whatever your solution, pay mind to establishing a process that works for you, and stick to it!