Interactions via email have become a part of our daily business practices. As we don’t have to mind our facial expressions, the way we are dressed, the eye contact, etc., it may seem that email has made communication a lot easier. However, that is not quite true.
In fact, it doesn’t mean that digital communication requires less effort and thoroughness than interacting in person. Such aspects of live conversation, as the personal tone, don’t lose their vitality when switching to email communication mode – they are simply implemented and transmitted in different ways.
Why email tone is so important
The tone of your email is a vital tool that helps you capture the message and persuade the reader. Interaction via electronic channels might be more difficult than in person, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or even conflicts.
Moreover, effective communication can’t be achieved if you fail to convey the message clearly and respectfully. For example, your co-workers would not be eager to come to a business meeting if your email invitation radiates a passive-aggressive edge.
It doesn’t mean that you intended to give such implications, yet the lack of awareness of how to maintain the appropriate tone might be the reason your email texts set the wrong mood.
Hence, developing an appropriate personal email tone doesn’t only mitigate possible misunderstandings but assists in making remote communication effective. Even using an email signature generator can help you with that.
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Differences between voice and tone
The notions of voice and tone are often used together when talking about style in writing and thus, unsurprisingly, are often confused or interchanged. Both of them are a quintessence of the way you convey and transmit your thoughts and ideas.
We can say that the voice is your personality, e.g., authoritative, witty, clever, or absolutely unique, and the tone is how you present it – be it the word choice, punctuation, grammar, etc.
The voice doesn’t tend to change over short periods of time and serves as an identifier of your writing, marked by fonts, emojis, specific words you use, or the ones you don’t. Your tone usually comprises the context or background of the interaction, altering and varying accordingly.
Adjusting the tone may help you create a consistent and relevant message that will serve its communicative purpose efficiently.
Types of tones in email writing
Just like in any type of writing, email letters may be implemented in three main types of tones:
- Formal tone
The formal type of writing is applied mostly in business, legal, or academic emails. Such tone is objective, strict, polite, and devoid of any emotional evaluation. It usually requires using standard literary language, longer complex sentences, proper punctuation, and spelling.
- Informal tone
An informal tone is a good choice if you are writing a personal or casual email. Unlike formal type, it allows using simple, short sentences, personal pronouns, and even slang & abbreviations.
This tone is subjective by its nature; thus, consider avoiding it when writing a strictly business email.
However, using an informal email tone between co-workers that have been acquainted for some time may assist in creating a friendly and pleasant working atmosphere.
- Neutral tone
Neutral email tone, as a rule, is deprived of any stylistically marked words. It is neither formal nor informal, which makes it incredibly versatile.
It is often used when delivering facts or starting an interaction without a distinct emotional implication. Moreover, a neutral tone is universal and can help you have your message consistently, almost in any kind of context.
Consider the audience to choose your tone
Unlike the voice, the tone of your emails should not be the same in every situation. Identifying who it is you are emailing is a crucial step in the process of developing the appropriate tone.
Judging by the context, the nature of your relationship with the recipient, and your communicative purpose, choose the tone that suits the occasion.
For example, if you are writing an urgent email to your employees during off-work hours, consider implementing a formal, polite email tone. If you are writing to a colleague, you can use a neutral or informal tone depending on the specific habits of your regular personal communication.
Regardless of the situation and the audience, it is always a good idea to maintain an honest, respectful, and empathetic tone.
Image source: https://www.kdnuggets.com/2018/06/audience-segmentation.html
Tips to keep the right tone in your emails
Below are several tips to consider if you want to maintain your personal email tone.
Tip #1: Use an email signature to convey your tone
A unique email signature may help you emphasize your tone and reflect the message of your letter. You can use your photo, choose colors that are associated with you and your brand, insert links to your social media or a blog. This way, people will understand what type of personality you are. Here you will find great email signature examples to get inspired.
Image source: https://mysignature.io/email-signature-examples
You can also use the email signature generator to create a unique signature that will help you convey your tone effectively.
Tip #2: Add personality
Try to create a personalized and memorable email by integrating creativity or wittiness. You may add some pictures or gifs that sum up the situation you are discussing.
Tip #3: Be polite and use words of courtesy
Formulating an email in a polite tone is a universal tool that suits any context. Simple “Thank you” and “Please” can help you express empathy, appreciation, and respect to your recipient.
Tip #4: Pay attention to detail
Consider re-reading your email before you send it to check the text for grammatical or stylistic mistakes and assure that every detail in it helps you create the appropriate tone.
Tip #5: Prefer the active voice
Email letters usually abound with personal pronouns. Thus the frequent usage of passive voice would not seem suitable. Implementing active voice will make your email more direct, structured, and easier to read.
Tip #6: Be careful with extreme adjectives
Where possible, consider avoiding extreme descriptive words (e.g., huge, awful, endless, etc.) unless you aim to exaggerate your thoughts and add too much emotional evaluation.
Tip #7 Use positive phrasing to convey negative news
If you would not like your email to affect someone’s mood negatively, try to avoid the negative tone, abrupt or radical statements.
Compare these two sentences.
“Unfortunately, we can’t help you unless you provide us the proof of address.”
“We would be happy to help you if you provide us the proof of address.”
Considering the immense amount of information, we have to deal with every day, it might be difficult to control our tone while responding to each email. However, if you try to turn the practices mentioned in this article into a steady habit, maintaining the appropriate tone in emails might become easier.