Professional Communication

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In your academic and professional career the ability to communicate professionally will be a skill that can either provide opportunities or very quickly end opportunities. Whether applying for a job or communicating with a college or professor, learning how to appropriately and professionally communicate, will separate you from the rest and create a respectable first impression.

Professional communication can come in many forms from presentations to phone calls and emails, though the main area that will be covered here are professional emails.

Professional Emails

Technology has changed the way Individuals communicate with each other. While only a few years ago the professional way to communicate was though snail mail, now with email, we are able to communicate quicker and more efficiently. Though this may not always be a good thing, with this type of communication becoming the norm, proper etiquette on profession communication may be forgotten.

Quick Tips:

Here are some tips on successfully writing a professional email

  • Always fill in the subject like with a topic that means something to the reader. Not things like “Important!” or “Assignment” but something like “New Assignment Deadline.”
  • Hook your reader! Just like in any writing, you must bring your reader in and keep them engaged. Put your main point in the first sentence so they end up sticking around.
  • Don’t be vague. Say what you need to say. Don’t beat around the bush. By doing any of these the point you are trying to make with this communication will be lost.
  • Be brief and be polite. A good rule of thumb is that if your letter is more than two or three short paragraphs one should consider only sticking with the key important points to reduce the size of the message or provide an attachment.
  • Please and thank you, and meaning it, go along way. Just like your mother and father used to say to you when you were a child. This will also help you in circumstances when you are communicating with a potential employer or writing and trying to find funding for a program. Being kind will get you farther in like than being rude. Remember you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar.
  • Add a signature block to the end of the email with your appropriate contact info such as name, business and phone number. Just keep it simple, you do not need artwork or clever quote.

Example:
Lucky Logger
Humboldt State University
(707) 420-0420

  • Make sure you’re email is properly written and grammatically correct. DO NOT TYPE IN ALL CAPS, you do not want to yell at people, and plz plz plz do not type like U txt ppl on ur phone, this is fine for your friends… actually its not okay to ever type like that. SPELL YOUR WORDS OUT PEOPLE! (Yes, I know, no caps, but I am yelling to make sure it gets to certain people who are guilty of it.)
  • PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! Read over the email multiple times before hitting the send button. Read it out loud to yourself, and use spell check, it is your friend. While you many think you’re too busy to sweat the small stuff, but your reader will notice.
  • Use a professional email, not the first one you ever made. We all know those are embarrassing and should never see the light of day.
  • Respond, promptly to serious messages. If you need 24 hours to collect information before replying to make the decision, send a brief response explaining the delay.

Examples/Templates:

Interview request for employment:

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Letter of recommendation template:recommendation-letter-email-request-academic-purposes

More Information

How to Write Clear and Professional Business Emails

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Writing Center Email Communication Page

Written by: Caitlin Plese
Last Updated: 18 December 2015

 

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