8 Quick Steps to Proofread Business Emails

8 Quick Steps to Proofread Business Emails
 

Effective writing requires patience. Nobody likes patience, but everybody likes clarity.

The goal of proofreading is to provide clarity for your readers.

When you follow a systematic way of proofreading, your self-editing skills become more efficient and you don't regret what you wrote, nor what you didn't write. When you take the time to proofread, your writing isn't plagued with spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes or syntax errors. As you get more efficient with proofreading, your writing becomes more effective and you sound more professional.

In this post, I’m going to share 8 quick steps to proofread business emails.

1. Check Spelling & Grammar

 check-spelling-grammar

When composing or responding to emails on desktop computers, enhance your proofreading with the best proofreading tool –– Grammarly (free and paid plans). This service is like having a personal editor correct your spelling and grammar errors.

On mobile or tablet devices, use Grammarly Keyboard (iOS) (Android).

Examples:

  • Hi Mark , ➙ Hi Mark,
  • Your right.  ➙ You're right.
  • Wendys' comming tomorrow, is she? ➙ Wendys' coming tomorrow, isn’t she?
  • Atlanta Georgia ➙ Atlanta, Georgia

You Might Also Like This Post: 12 Steps to Writing Effective Business Emails in English

2. Check the Spelling of Names

 check-spelling-of-names

Ensure you’ve spelled names correctly. Spell checkers can identify some, but not all names of people, companies and products and services. When you write names correctly, recipients won't notice. However, when you get names wrong, your recipients won't forget.

Examples:

  • Sara Johnston ➙ Sarah Johnson
  • Go Pro ➙ GoPro
  • MacDonalds ➙ McDonald's
  • iWatch ➙ Apple Watch

3. Check Clarity

 check-clarity

Can the subject line be reduced to a few keywords with hyphens? Is the reason for emailing given? Are questions obvious? Is the message clear, concise and specific? Are pronouns (he/she/they) understood? Are specific dates and times provided? Are paragraphs short? What can you add, edit or delete?

Examples:

  • The meeting's Friday at 2:00  ➙ Friday Meeting – 2:00
  • I wonder what the error could be. ➙ Could you send me a screenshot of the error message?
  • Are you free this week? ➙ Are you available on Friday at 2:00 pm? If not, when's best for you?

4. Check Word Choice & Syntax

 check-word-choice-syntax

If you haven't chosen the right words or the syntax (the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences) is unclear, the message could be confusing or difficult to read.

Can you combine, separate and/or copy and paste sentences? Can you reduce the word count? Can you turn passive sentences into active sentences?

Examples:

  • Mark wanted me to ask you if you're going to attend the workshop. ➙ Are you attending the workshop?
  • The right time to decide is quickly approaching this Monday. ➙ We must decide by Monday.
  • The contract was signed. ➙ Mr. Smith signed the contract.

5. Check Tone

 check-tone

Check your tone to ensure you're writing empathetically. How will the recipient feel reading your message? Have you included courtesies? Is the message negative, opinionated or unappreciative? Could the message be misread or misunderstood?

Examples:

  • Why'd you do that? ➙ Let's work together to find a better solution.
  • Stop wasting time with this idea. ➙ Let's move onto a new strategy.
  • I need a response ASAP!!! ➙ Could you let me know by 5:00 pm today?

You Might Also Like This Post: 12 Steps to Writing Effective Business Emails in English

6. Check Attachments

 confirm-attachments

If applicable, check that attachments have been properly introduced, titled and attached. Otherwise, recipients may overlook them.

Don't email confidential information or request signatures via email. Instead, use a secure file sharing service. I recommend several secure file sharing services in my Emergency Manager workbook.

Examples:

  • I have included a PDF map from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to ABC Company.
  • Attachment: Map from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to ABC Company

7. Proofread

Read the entire message aloud and review steps 1-6. If you're in an environment where you can't read the message aloud, use earphones and enable text-to-speech on your operating system. This way, you can catch mistakes while listening to your message being read.

Text-to-Speech:

  • iOS
    Settings > General > Accessibility >Speech >Enable Speak Selection > Mail > Highlight the entire message > Speak
  • macOS
    Mail >Highlight the entire message > Right click > Speech > Start Speaking

When finished, add the recipient's email address in the "To" field or ensure you're responding to the right person.

8. Reflect

If you're sending an important email that isn't time sensitive, you might want to wait a few hours or a whole day to reflect on what you've written. If you're still unsure after that, share your message with a trusted colleague or friend. Getting the email right could make all the difference. Time, after all, is the best editor.

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Conclusion

You just learned 8 quick steps to proofread business emails. These steps may seem excessive, but once you start implementing them –– you’ll write more effectively and sound more professional.

How do you proofread emails? Answer in the Comments below.

8 Quick Steps to Proofread Business Emails first appeared on the Culture Gaps Blog by Jeff Shibasaki.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click a link and make a purchase Culture Gaps will earn a very small commission –– at no additional cost to you.

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Jeff Shibasaki blogs about effective communication skills for the USA at Culture Gaps and healthy web design for unhealthy websites at Bento Sites.