When someone writes to you first, it’s important to reply in the same tone. If they say hello, you say hello. If they say hey, you can say, Wassup? Always address someone by name in your e-mail, unless you’ve been writing back and forth several times. In that case, it’s not necessary to start with “Hello, Naveen.” But, if someone writes you a nice note saying, “Dear Sigrid, I had a wonderful time at the concert the other night. Hope we can do it again really soon. Warmly, Barb,” don’t just reply, “Me, too.” The recipient could easily feel slighted or dismissed by your abrupt response, when that wasn’t your intention at all.
Remember that unless you’re using emoticons, which can often look juvenile, it’s hard for people to know how you feel. Echoing the language that they use is called mirroring. It’s an effective way to let other people know that you’ve heard them. Also, subconsciously people feel connected to you when you respond in a similar fashion. If they’ve written “Yo!” you’ll look stiff by replying “Good day, Xander.” Another way to mirror what someone has written is to keep your note about the same length as theirs.
Tune in on Monday, July 5th for part five of “How to Write a Smashing E-mail.”
Sigrid Macdonald is an editor and the author of three books, including the newly-released Be Your Own Editor, available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/2a3zx6t (Paperback) and