How to Build Your Professional Reputation Via Email

How to Build Your Professional Reputation Via Email

Ways To Successfully Build Your Online Reputation

Professionalism in the workplace can be effectively built via email communication. When an individual’s email is unprofessional, it can result in the recipient thinking that the sender is unprofessional which affects the sender’s reputation.

To prevent a negative reputation, you need to write your emails well, and to do this, you need to know what professional emails look like. 

Some people might not identify the connection between email and reputation. The main reason for this is that they discount the importance of email communication at work. This is understandable because the connection is very subtle.

Build Your Professional Reputation Via Email

Relationship Between Email Writing, Professionalism, and Your Reputation

Professionalism is very important to the business community because it signifies responsibility, respect, accuracy, and growth potential. Externally, companies need their employees to communicate effectively via email because they are representing the business. Internally, they need their employees to be professional to create an efficient working environment.

So, a person’s professionalism becomes critical to his or her overall reputation and career success. All this emphasis on professionalism permeates into emails too. When an individual takes email writing casually, the emails they create have inherent flaws. And when recipients read these poorly written emails, their opinion of the sender changes for the worse. Since senders can easily damage their reputation via email, it’s important to be aware of these flaws.

Relationship Between Email Writing, Professionalism, and Your Reputation

These flaws can be of various types ranging from typos and incomplete information to the use of improper words or tones. But the impression they create is universal. They make the recipient think that the sender lacks professionalism. As a result, the individual’s reputation plummets with the recipient thinking that the sender lacks knowledge or attention to detail.

The obvious question at this point is, “What can you do to prevent this from happening to you?” The simple answer to write professional emails. But that’s easier said than done. In practice, it isn’t so easy without knowing how to define professional emails. 

Target Your Audience When Communicating Via Email

Communication is all about the target audience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a conference call or writing a letter. Your target audience should define the words you use as well as the tone you take.

A good example of this would be how the writing style and choice of words change between an email being sent to a client and one being sent to associates or subordinates even when the basic content is the same.

Here is an example of this:

  1. When you are sending an apology to a client, you might say: “We apologize for the delay in the completion of this project. We estimate that it should be completed by October 15th, 2022”
  2. And if you are sending a message to your team via email you might say: “I’m sorry but it looks like this project is going to be late. I think we may be able to finish it by the 15th of this month.” 
Target Your Audience When Communicating Via Email

There are key differences in both, the words being used and the tone of the communication being taken. The words “apologize” and “completed” are much more formal and suitable to a client than “sorry” and “finish.”

Similarly, the format of the date is different in both with the complete “July 15th, 2022” better suited to the client than “15th of this month” which sounds a bit less formal.

Knowing and understanding your audience is key to effective email writing. When preparing to write your email, the first question to ask is “Who am I writing this for?”  Knowing who your reader means that you can adapt your tone and the content of your writing to suit your audience. 

Communicating with colleagues via email should not be taken casually. Instead, emails should be very well-considered with a lot of thought into individual words and their context.

This is especially evident in international or intercultural communication when writing to someone from another country or culture. 

Demonstrate Cultural Awareness via Email

Let’s look at some examples of how cultural differences can affect our email communication:

  • The definition of “formal tone” varies from one country to another. For example, for Americans and Australians it’s not uncommon to be more informal than for people from other countries. Their business outlook is very different from the business outlook of people with other nationalities. The result is:
    1. They might open their email with more casual greetings such as “Hi Adam,” and end it with a “Cheers!” sign off 
    2. But if the recipient is in Saudi Arabia or Japan, the same greeting and sign-off might be considered too friendly or even offensive in business communication.
  • Here’s another example. In Germany, people write the main body of their emails differently in comparison to North America and other countries. They prefer not to capitalize the first sentence after the greetings. Here is an example.
  • Here’s how we do it in North America. As you can see in this example, we capitalize the first sentence after the greeting:

“Dear Sam,

Regarding the deadlines of the project being discussed, I would like to add…”

  1. But in Germany, people would not capitalize the r in the beginning of the paragraph.

“Dear Sam,

regarding the deadlines of the project being discussed, I would like to add…”

  1. Titles are also something you need to be careful about in cross-cultural emails. A good example of this is seen with Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia.  The more you know about other cultures, the easier it becomes to interact with different people via email.
  2. Saudi Arabia is ruled by the royal family and the royal family is big with lots of members. Many of them have specific titles such as “your Highness” and “your excellency.” In your email, you not only have to use these titles appropriately but repeatedly. In fact, you have to avoid directly addressing the recipient and use these titles instead.

As you can see, you need to be careful when choosing your language in business communication, especially when you are working in a multicultural setting or dealing with international clients. These are just a few examples to illustrate some differences when it comes to email communication, but the main point is that you need to be aware that cultural differences do exist in business writing and they need to be considered when writing your emails. Understanding and respecting cultural differences will help you connect with new people and build relationships via email.

A Professional Email Is Free of Grammatical Errors

Professional emails are also free of errors. Errors can appear in various forms when interacting with customers and colleagues via email.

  • They can be vocabulary-based with similar sounding words being confused by the writer. Here are some common examples of these types of words.
    1. Effect and affect
    2. Except and accept
    3. Then and than
    4. Your and you’re
    5. Here and hear

and so on…

  • Errors can be simple spelling mistakes caused because of negligence or lack of time on the part of the writer.
    1. For example, making a spelling mistake with the word “reciporcate” when the correct spelling looks like this “reciprocate”
    2. Or  writing in text-speak such as “wat do u want 2 do”, in place of “What do you want to do?” Although common in text messaging, it wouldn’t be appropriate for business communication.
  • And then there could be punctuation-based mistakes too. Let’s look at some examples you might come across via email communication:
    1. Using “Let’s eat Vince” in place of “Let’s eat, Vince”
    2. Using too many punctuations such as “Happy to hear from you!!!!” That’s an excessive amount of exclamation marks. 
    3. Using “good to hear from you” when it should be “Good to hear from you” with a capital G

You need to pay close attention to your email to make sure you aren’t making any of these mistakes. And set aside some time to review and edit what you wrote. Check the vocabulary, spelling and grammar to make sure your emails sounds polished and professional. 

Summary:

People often translate a lack of professionalism in business communication not only to the individual being entirely unprofessional but also to the company being unprofessional in its services. This is why the way you write your email can have a huge effect on your reputation. Instilling professionalism in your writing is about knowing what a professional email looks like and being alert while communicating via email.

Other Resources:

CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.

To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:

Understanding Cultural Differences in Email Communication
10 Techniques To Enhance Your Client Relations Skills
How to Quit Your Job (FREE Resignation Letter Samples)
Exploring a Career as a Customer Service Manager

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