Why is it, after so many years as an internal communicator, that I still get palpitations when ‘hitting send’ on that email.
I say ‘hitting‘ but in reality it goes a little more like this….
I meticulously scrutinise the copy over and over, check and double check everything, I proof read and then proof, my proof reading, I get a sudden dose of ‘wordnesia’ and begin question the spelling of the most basic words, such as ‘regards’… and the more I look at a word, the more I convince myself it is spelt wrong. Then apprehensively I hover the arrow over the send button and squeeze my eyes shut, as I pretend I’m not clicking send…🙈
This is usually followed by an anxious visit to my sent folder, just to check that it really did ‘go’ And you can more or less guarantee that if there was a typo or some other error, I’d spot it the second I open it. (The horror hits 😱)
We’ve all been there, I know I’m not alone, every communicator I have spoken to, has experienced the same dread of ‘hitting send’.
So what can we do to relieve the stress of sending that important email to employees?
Before I hit send, I follow a few simple steps to minimise the ‘Hit Send Palpitations’.
One – Tone
The message has been worded according to the required tone of voice of your company (as defined in you internal brand guidelines) – Some emails can be quite a balancing act between tone of voice and retention of the core message.
Once you have applied the tone of voice, send the proposed copy back to the stakeholder for approval.
Two – Sign off & Signatory
Always confirm a named signatory as the sign off for the email. Employees prefer to have a named contact to go back to should they have any comments or questions. Going back to Step One, if your signatory is not the originator of the copy, encourage your stakeholder to seek further sign off from the intended signatory.
Three – Finesse & Format
Now you are working with the copy that has been signed off by the stakeholder and the signatory. It is time to finesse the copy in your template, be it in a plain text email or a visual delight of images and colour.
Ensure the text is not overbearing. Keep the format of paragraphs to a maximum length of four lines of text. Bear in mind, the viewing device of the recipient will likely be responsive, so four lines of copy on a PC could translate to 12 lines of copy when viewed via a mobile device.
Four – Links aren’t local
If your email includes hyperlinks, it is important that these are all checked… I would like you to pause a second here. ⏸ Double check that you haven’t linked to something in your own local drive as this type of link will ONLY work for you.
I have received an email recently at work and I could see, a lot of effort had gone into the copy and format, but all the hyperlinks to the referred documents were linked to the senders local documents folder.
Question – Can all the recipients access the location of the hyperlinked site or document?
Five – Second pair of eyes 👀
Ask a colleague to give the email a once over – a fresh pair of eyes in always more likely to spot that hidden typo (often hiding in the subject line as well as the body of the email). Likewise, if your colleague is the one hitting send, alway offer to be their second pair of eyes. Team work rules!
Six – All Employee emails
Scenario – You are sending an ‘all employee’ email to hundreds or thousands of recipients. You have a ‘group email’ such a as firstname.lastname@example.org.
Always try to avoid placing that email in the ‘To’ field. Only the internal comms team or HR team should know how to contact everyone in the company in one email.
What went wrong – I have recently seen a disgruntled employee send out a very damaging email to all employees. I took quite an effort from IT to block the email, retract it and prevent any further being sent.
Best practice – Place the bulk recipient email in the ‘BCC’ field and your team email in the ‘To’ field. Apply the same caution to emails being sent to a large section of the company.
Seven – Reply path
Always add a reply path to your email. This will be determined by who needs to address queries.
E.g If you would like to find out more on how to improve your company comms, please email me on email@example.com
If this post has helped you or you think it could help someone else in a communications role, please share.