I can’t count how many times I’ve been told to act professional when it comes to writing emails at work. Despite how hard I’ve been trying, it’s really hard to separate the way I usually speak my mind in text and how I should talk when I’m writing a work-related email.

This has been a problem in my career for a long time and I was only able to realize it when I started working for my current employer. It’s been so bad that he actually used one of my emails as a bad example in a book that he’s writing.

With that said, I should probably let you know what to look out for when constructing an email for your client or anyone of the sort. I know it looks very simple, but it’s really easy to forget about it.

Make it as brief as possible

It’s always important to make your emails very short. You just need to respond to the topic at hand. Also, avoid talking about anything that’s outside of the scope. Let your clients steer the conversation unless it’s necessary on your part to do so.

Do NOT make excuses

When you make mistakes, avoid making excuses. Sure, you can do it when you’re talking in person or on Skype, but don’t ever do it in writing. In fact, if possible, don’t make excuses at all. Not making excuses will give an impression of owning up to your mistakes to the recipient. Plus, it keeps the email brief since you’re typing less characters.

Avoid using words that express doubt

That means avoid using words like “probably”, “likely”, “most likely”, “I guess”, etc. To be precise, avoid making speculations in email. I usually do this when I want to imply that I’ve made progress, but in reality, it just makes you look like you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re making the client think as well.

As my boss would say, they hired us to think for them, not the other way around.