When you work as a freelancer or work from home, the quality of your written communication is extremely important to make a stellar impression on your clients.
Well-written, clear and concise writing can make a good impression, while poorly structured and error-ridden sentences can have the opposite effect.
Writing emails is often about getting your message across to the client and being clear about what you want to say. However, the one thing you might neglect is to proofread and edit the content of the email.
No matter how good your work is, if the text is full of errors and blunders, it’s not going to impress the client. Here’s how to proofread and edit your emails the right way and avoid most common mistakes.
1. Check your tone of voice when editing
The tone of voice might not seem like a big deal and certainly not something that first pops to mind when you think of editing and proofreading your emails. However, it’s an important part of it.
Something that sounds just right in your head might not be so good in your email. You can even offend the client if you come off as too arrogant or overly confident.
Read it aloud and hear how it would sound to someone else. Make the necessary changes in order to make your email shine and impress your client but also to get the message across properly.
The best thing to do in this case is to write the email and then get some rest. Wait for a few hours if it’s not so urgent and then go back to it feeling refreshed and different.
Take another look at your email – what emotion is it conveying. If it’s anger or contempt, even passive aggression, make sure that you eliminate it.
Communicating anger through email is not a good choice. Better wait for a while till you calm down and see if you can handle it better.
2. Be clear and concise
One of the worst email sins is going on and on about something. Your client probably doesn’t have time to read a lengthy email and they want to be able to understand you from the start and not read on and search for clarity.
Start by being direct – state your problem right away, in the first few sentences. Then, elaborate but do so quickly as well. Finish your email with a request and that should be it. Then you can go back to the beginning and make sure that your email is clear to your client.
For instance, it often happens that people explain something in an email, yet it’s completely incomprehensible to the other party. You can even give your email to someone else to read and see if they can understand it.
Try using simple words – no thesaurus counterparts but simple versions that you use in your everyday language. Also, avoid using slang because it can be harmful in getting your message across to the other person.
Make the tone of voice conversational but not overly friendly. Don’t use slang either because it’s not professional and often confusing.
3. Check for wordiness
Wordiness is the most common cause of confusion. People want to sound smart and educated so they use long, thesaurus words that could just as easily be replaced by their simpler counterparts.
For instance, they use utilize where the word use would do just fine. If you want some diversity in your wording, change the entire sentence in a way that omits the repetitive word instead of finding a more complex way to say it.
Another email sin is using metaphors which are just overused and never add any value to the overall meaning. There is also weak writing such as using the passive voice, adverbs and so on.
Instead of using the passive voice, try active and you’ll see your email transform instantly. Omit any adverbs and use stronger verbs.
All of this makes your email not only more readable but also more powerful and compelling which means that it can bring you good results.
4. Use online tools
Fortunately, we live in a world where a piece of software can provide us with assistance for almost anything. Editing and proofreading aren`t an exception.
While tools like these can`t completely replace the human eye and feel for writing, style and so on, they can definitely provide help with some of the most common mistakes and possibly cut your process in half.
Here are some proofreading and editing tools to help you improve your written client communications.
Grammarly makes sure everything you type is clear, effective, and mistake-free whether you’re on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and or anywhere else you write on the web.
It scans your text for common and complex grammatical mistakes, spanning everything from subject-verb agreement to article use to modifier placement and offers accurate, context-specific suggestions to make your work shine.
If you use Chrome, install the Grammarly Chrome extension and get started using this tool now.
Ginger Software is a tool that helps you write faster and better, thanks to grammar checker, punctuation, and spell checker tools which automatically detect and correct everything from misused words to a subject-verb agreement to contextual spelling and grammar mistakes.
Go beyond the basic spell check and grammar check, and get quick access to complementary writing tools like translation, definition, contextual synonyms and sentence rephrase.
It works with whichever device or platform you prefer. Just install the app on your phone, tablet, or desktop and improve your communication skills immediately.
This app makes your writing bold and clear. It highlights lengthy, complex sentences and common errors; if you see a yellow sentence, shorten or split it.
If you see a red highlight, your sentence is so dense and complicated that your readers will get lost trying to follow its meandering, splitting logic — try editing this sentence to remove the red.
Paste or compose a document in their online tool and click “Check Writing” to get feedback on your writing. Click an underlined spelling error, grammar suggestion, or style suggestion to see more options.
The ProofreadingTool will help you improve your written work, in terms of both grammar and readability. It provides instant feedback, complete with hundreds of suggestions and explanations to help you understand why any part of your writing may need improvement.
When you register, you’ll receive a full-featured 7-day trial, after which you can enable ads to continue using it free with all features. If not, you’ll only see a subset of the potential range of language and grammar suggestions.
This free tool has an online as well as a downloadable version that will help you make a professional impression with exact and natural writing.
Fueled by patented cutting-edge AI (artificial intelligence) technologies and power engine, 1Checker can instantly detect and correct your spelling, grammar and style errors.
Detailed, professional, and easy to understand explanations are provided with each error detected. 1Checker helps you learn from your mistakes, avoid making them again, and write better English day by day.
This free online grammar check website or proofreader helps writers count words, check to spell, check grammar and punctuation, check to paraphrase, improve word choice, self-assess the use of target structures, and master English pronunciation.
It also trains learners and novice teachers to become better proofreaders with an error correction game on the Error Correction Games page. This tool is 100% free to use, and membership is free. Members can check 3000 words and non-members can check 500 words.
5. Let it sit for a bit
Most of the time we just need to let things rest before we can take them on again. When we send emails in haste, we often make many mistakes and miss them when proofreading.
We might even write something in anger that will have a detrimental effect on our lives later. So if unless it’s urgent, just wait for a bit before you send it.
Try this approach with your emails. You`ll be less emotional and with a clear mind, you`ll notice your mistakes more easily. Relax, go for a walk and then come back to your email.
6. Get the most important parts right
There is nothing more disrespectful than misspelling your client’s name or any other info related to them. This shows that you did bad research and that you are not really detail-oriented.
Check for accuracy with the name of the client, their email address and the most important details of your email. Those are the parts that you really don`t want to confuse. Especially the client’s name – a mistake in spelling can be really annoying and offensive.
If you can do a bit more research on them, that would be great. People really appreciate it when you know more things about them and when you make an effort to make the message personalized and tailored.
7. Proofread carefully
You can definitely benefit from using online tools but you should also go through the email yourself and check your spelling and grammar. Some words you might have spelt correctly but placed them in a wrong spot.
For instance “Their have been many changes”. Some proofreading tools might not catch this as a mistake, but it is and you should fix it. Common mistakes include:
- Your instead of you’re
- Its instead of It’s
- Loose instead of lose
Watch this video to understand some of the common grammatical mistakes people make.
It’s best to proofread first through one of the tools and catch the most obvious mistakes in your email. Then, you should revise it once more by yourself for awkward syntaxes and making sure that every sentence is absolutely necessary.
You should also replace any overly complex words, slang and jargon. Then, go through it once more, word by word to catch any leftover mistakes.
When writing emails to clients or anyone else, we need to clear our minds. Creating them in haste or out of anger, confusion, anxiety and so on can result in those emails reading poorly.
If you want a favourable response, write with a purpose and make sure everything is accurate.
Freddie Tubbs is a communication manager and business writer at Bigassignments. He regularly takes part in online marketing events and contributes posts to multiple blogs.
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