Email management is one of the main tasks of PAs in London and beyond. While a lot of it involves tidying and organising executives’ inboxes, it also invariably involves sending emails on their behalf.
As a PA recruitment agency, we know that executives are looking for candidates who understand that their email communications need to be reflective of the executive and the company. Whether a PA position is permanent or temporary, employers need to know that a candidate’s email etiquette is exemplary.
Sloppy errors be gone!
The biggest issue is ensuring accuracy when you’re under pressure. Even if you’re pushed for time, don’t try and dash off an email with half an ear on a video conference call. Instead, concentrate on carefully crafting even the simplest and shortest of emails. Carry out a spell-check (copying and pasting into Word if necessary) and proofread.
Don’t make assumptions before writing an email. You need to ensure that the content is factually accurate. If you aren’t sure about something, go and do your homework. The last thing you want to do is commit your boss to something that they wouldn’t want to do or can’t do.
Whilst it’s fair to say that you shouldn’t be expected to reply to emails immediately, emails are increasingly being seen as a more immediate form of communication. Realistically, people expect to hear back from an email within 24 hours, 48 at a push. If you can’t reply within that timescale, then you should send a holding email to explain why.
If you dash out emails without something typed in the subject line, then you’re falling foul of email etiquette. It’s polite to ensure that the subject line briefly conveys what the reader can expect to find. It may just be a single word, but use it. This also makes it much easier for the recipient if they’re scanning their inbox or searching for something.
Tone of voice
It’s with the tone of voice that you really need to consider yourself as an extension of your company and your executive. There’s a temptation with emails to be over-friendly and colloquial. As a PA, you’re rarely in the position where this is appropriate. No one is expecting you to write Shakespeare, but you should use full and proper English and generally spare the recipient the emojis (unless these very much reflect your business’ brand).
Finally, if you’re responding to emails on behalf of your boss, make sure you’re very clear that this is what you’re doing from the start of the email. The recipient should be able to see that you, in your role as PA, are writing to them, not the person that they originally contacted. Be professional, be clear, and be accurate.
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