Source: Alejandro Escamilla via Unsplash

Source: Alejandro Escamilla via Unsplash

While email is seen as a relatively informal way to communicate, it makes up a large percentage of the communication we do (both personally and professionally). But how much thought do we give to the recipient’s impression of us from the words we may have quickly typed on our smart phone while rushing to our next appointment?

Fractl and Buzzstream recently worked together, surveying more than 1,200 people, to discover how emails influence a reader’s perception of the writer. Here are their key findings.

Shorter is better

The preference for conciseness doesn’t just refer to the main body of text, but also to the subject line. When subject lines exceeded 35 characters, the opening rate dropped from an average of 24% to 17%.

The preference for shorter emails increases with age; 70% more of those surveyed aged 55 to 64 find long emails unacceptable compared to those aged 18 to 24.

Check your grammar and spelling

While we all understand the importance of proofreading our emails, how many of us actually do it before clicking ‘send’? This unfortunately doesn’t make us less forgiving when we receive unchecked emails.

Almost 80% of respondents found spelling and grammatical errors the most unacceptable mistakes to make, with females being slightly more annoyed by them then males. Interestingly, the respondents with higher levels of education were slightly more forgiving of these types of mistakes.

Avoid excessive punctuation

Exactly 70% of those surveyed agreed that excessive punctuation, such as exclamation marks, should be avoided.

Use regular fonts in one size

There were interesting findings in regards to the choice of fonts with changes in font size being disliked by almost 70% of the respondents.

There was an aversion to irregular fonts, such as Comic Sans, Courier New and Impact, although older respondents were more forgiving of these, and the majority of those surveyed preferred a single-coloured font.

Email remains the most common form of communication in the business world, with the total number of email users (both personal and business) worldwide expected to increase from more than 2.5 billion in 2014 to more than 2.8 billion in 2018 [Email Statistics Report 2104-2018 The Radicato Group Inc].

Whether you’re emailing a potential client, sending out a weekly newsletter, arranging a meeting or applying for a job, the next time you’re about to click ‘send’, take a minute or two to check what you’ve written and make the best impression you can.