Common Mistakes of Business Email - Business Email Secrets

Jason Nazar, co-founder and CEO of Docstoc ( discusses common email blunders professionals should avoid. Learn how to keep your messages succinct, easily digestible and more likely to garner a response.

  1. Avoid writing multiple page messages
  2. Limit the amount of rambling in your email
  3. Business emails shouldn't be overly formal
  4. Neglecting to include or highlight an "ask" in your message
  5. Stay away from overly self-promoting
  6. Poor subject lines can ruin an email

How can we become successful with business e-mails? Let’s first talk about the things that you shouldn’t be doing.

Number one on the list most important biggest mistake everybody makes, e-mails are too long. If you are on the receiving end of an e-mail and you look at your iPhone and you look at your computer and you see this long e-mail, immediately you mentally flag it that this is something I’m going to get back and look to later. And at best what you’ll do is you might read the first sentence or two to see if anything grabs your attention and odds are the longer the e-mail is the more rambling is and the hard it is to get to the point. And so the length of your e-mail can immediately be something that will turn people off from reading it.

The second thing is rambling. What I mean by that is not necessarily even the length but where you bring that key points in your e-mails. So often what I’ll do in an e-mail that needs to be a little bit longer is I’ll create subject header lines and put those in bold and I’ll put bullet points underneath each point, so somebody immediately can get to the key points. If you’re going to put in a lot of text and your key point of your e-mail are inner disperse throughout, it’s very hard for somebody to pick up what’s going on and that rambling will again be something that will make them say I’ll just get around this till later.

The third thing is actually being too formal in the business e-mail. We’ve all gotten this spam like proposals from different companies that sound very formal. It sounds like somebody in Indonesia or India or China is reading a book on how to write English for the first time and sending us a letter.

When I get an e-mail for business purpose and it sounds too formal it’s a flag that goes up in my head that this is probably someone that doesn’t know me at all or is reaching out to me for the first time and I tend to not read those e-mails to begin with.

The fourth thing is that sometimes people forget actually to make an “ask” in their e-mail or it’s buried somewhere in the e-mail that you can’t find. Again the purpose of business e-mails is to build awareness to get an action or get a response and then almost all of those cases, you actually need to make an “ask” and if you can’t use the identify what the “ask” is in an e-mail, you’re not going to respond to it.

Fifth thing, people are too heavy with self promotion. If I get an e-mail and the first two paragraphs are all about what that person is doing and how great they are and how wonderful their company is, it turns me off. I don’t want to read it. Now when I see heavy handed self promotion in an e-mail I tend to just glance over it.

And the last thing and the most important that will spend in an entire set of videos on are subject lines. No matter how good or how bad your actual e-mail is, if you can’t get somebody to open it then you have no chance of influencing and persuading them.

And so the biggest mistake that we all make with our e-mails is not putting enough time, attention and care in to those subject lines to make sure that they’re interesting, tantalizing and captivating to make somebody want to open and actually read the e-mail.