Forgetting one simple step when writing a business email can sabotage even the best intentions. After you have taken care to include all of the right information needed to get your message to a customer or colleague, take one more minute to read your own email to yourself out loud before you send it.
It sounds so simple – but, it’s rarely done. So many people rely completely on “spell check” or (even worse) they believe that just because they put a fair amount of time into the email, it’s got to be right.
Unfortunately, this is seldom the case. Spell check can catch a good number of spelling or grammatical errors, but it does not catch everything. Nothing can substitute for a good, old fashioned “proof read” before you hit the send button.
Duplicate words, incorrect choice of words (although correctly spelled) are often overlooked by most spell checkers. Also, no spell check program can take a step back and ask, “Did I answer the mail?” or “Does this email convey what is needed to bring about my desired outcome?”
Equally important to proof reading your email is to read it to yourself out loud. Believe it or not, reading out loud is far more effective than just reading through your own email silently. The reason for this is when we read silently, most of us tend to “skim” through the sentences. The human mind can often interpret the message and not catch the actual words in the email. When you read the email to yourself out loud, however, errors will jump off the screen and you can catch them instead of your customers or coworkers.
Nothing is more embarrassing than to have a coworker point out an error in your email – especially if they copy others with their remarks. Customers are not impressed if they find your errors either. Therefore, to make sure you have created the most effective, professional email possible, don’t neglect to read your own email to yourself out loud before you hit “send.”