“I do my best proofreading after I hit send.”
Ain’t that the truth?! I see this saying pop up in various memes a few times a year, and it always makes me giggle. Only after we hit send, do we suddenly notice we typed “your” instead of “you’re” or that we didn’t include the information we said we would. Errors become glaringly obvious, and we wish we had spent just a few more moments reviewing. And that’s all it takes – a few more moments.
With these 3 tips, you will greatly reduce the most common email writing errors without dedicating a ton of time to proofreading and editing.
TIP 1: Get grammar help
You can quickly improve your writing by getting help from Grammarly. This powerful app comes in all forms: desktop app, mobile app, and Google Chrome extension. The free version Grammarly Basic will check your spelling, punctuation, and word usage. Need more? Upgrade to Grammarly Premium for a review of your verb tenses, tone consistency, and repetitive words and phrases. Try it now.
TIP #2: Write, Wait, Review
After you’ve drafted your email, step away for a moment. It doesn’t need to be a big break. Either get up to refill your drink or quickly stretch, anything that takes your eyes away from the screen. Then come back to the email for a quick review. By simply taking a moment away from the email, you are resetting your brain to read the email as the reader – not the writer. Check for basic grammar issues. Is the tone right? Do all your verb tenses align? Did you use the correct words (watch out for their/there/they’re mix-ups!)? A simple review will go a long way!
TIP 3: Do a Content Audit
For moderate to high stakes emails, during your review, complete a content audit. Have you answered the 5 W’s – Who, What, Where, When, Why. Okay, we’ll throw in How too! If your email mentions an attachment or links, did you remember to include them? Open them to ensure they are what you intend to send.
And then you’re ready to go! Now you can confidently hit ‘send.’