Do you feel your email writing skills are of a high-enough standard and there is little, if anything, you can learn further? Tut-tut, my friends! The simple fact of the matter is that from time to time we could all do with a refresher course in how to create a professional email.
If you work as a Legal Secretary or PA, your communication must be of the highest professional standard. You need to keep in mind that clients will always expect 100% professionalism when they are paying law firms for their work. Never feel that it is acceptable to be a little more casual when it comes to sending emails in a business or professional capacity – it really is not!
One of the problems is that some people classify emails in the same category as text messages, which is especially true of today’s generation. Even in a work environment they may be tempted to use ‘text speak’ and poor grammar as they think in today’s modern technological era it is acceptable to do so. If this represents you even in the slightest, it is essential you revise your mentality in this regard and look to ensure you adopt a more professional attitude and demeanour in the future.
In a business or professional capacity, it is imperative that you follow a set template and rules each and every time you send out an email. Let’s take a little time to run through the details here:
A Professional Greeting
In the first instance, it is always most professional and courteous to use the greeting ‘Dear’ in your email; however, it has become perfectly acceptable to use ‘Hi’ … followed by the recipient’s name. As you work in the legal profession, though, it is probably wise to use Dear … followed by the email recipient’s title and surname.
Clearly State the Purpose of the Email
If you are responding to a client’s previous email, it is always prudent to start your email with a line of thanks for their enquiry. If you are initiating the first email, you need to state the purpose of the correspondence succinctly and very clearly. Ensure you use the minimal number of words to set out exactly what your purpose is.
Perfect Spelling, Grammar and Sentence Structure
Whenever you write a professional email, you need to check the spelling, grammar and sentence structure of the whole email and never send out anything that may contain mistakes. Do not feel you can relax your English language skills in an email, as this makes you come across as less educated and uncaring. Your way of communicating will also affect the reputation of the firm you are working for. Maintain a tremendous sense of pride in every single piece of correspondence you send to people and you will never go far wrong. Make sure you complete a spellcheck before sending an email, as this will pick up some spelling mistakes, although it will not pick up common grammatical errors such as typing ‘you’re’ instead of ‘your’. You cannot rely on a spellcheck 100% so you will need to proofread it yourself too.
Closing the Email
You should always end your email politely by thanking the recipient for their consideration of the matter in advance. You should also make sure you come across as being perfectly amenable to any questions they may have in relation to the email and perhaps state that you look forward to hearing back from them in due course.
There are a whole host of endings you can use, anything from ‘Kind regards’ to ‘Yours sincerely’. Never use informal and unprofessional closing words such as ‘cheers’ or including kisses, as it is unprofessional. You may think that people would never do this, but they do!