This is the biggest mistake people make in work emails

19 May 2017
By Fashion Quarterly

Woman using a laptop (h)

Office politics are a minefield. We’re here to help you navigate your way through with care.

Crafting work emails may be up there with the hardest part of the job. It can be really difficult to convey the right tone, let alone get your meaning across without it being misinterpreted or read in entirely the wrong way.

We’ve all been there, and business experts agree: even writing the most banal emails can cause trouble.

Apparently subject lines are to blame for many problematic office emails. Email experts at Boomerang analysed over a quarter of a million emails and found a well-crafted subject line made for more successful email correspondence with colleagues.


The key, the experts say, is writing a subject line that’s no longer than four words long, and one which has no mistakes. Their research bears this out with a 41 per cent better response rate than those who fire off their office missives with wordier headings.

The worst thing someone can do in an email? Start your subject sentence with a lowercase letter. According to the research, this is an absolute no-no when it comes to business communication – and you probably shouldn’t expect a reply from the recipient.

Those behind the study explained: “The most significant error [is] starting a subject sentence with a lowercase letter. Such emails only get a reply 28.4% of the time, compared to a 32.6% response rate for those with proper subject capitalisation.”

Say the experts: “You could be one (shift) keystroke away from boosting your response rates by 15%.”

Obviously there’s more to the perfect email than a great subject line. You’ll also want to pay attention to grammar, and sending it on the right day is just as important.

The study found Mondays were the worst day to send out email, and generally the day more people tended to make mistakes. “Not only do emails sent on Mondays have the lowest subject sentiment on average, it’s a steep drop off from Sunday, which has the most positive email subjects,” the study reports.

While weekends are sacred, we *might* want to sacrifice some of our precious downtime to make our office lives a little easier… On second thought, maybe we’ll just take better care with our subject lines.

Photo: Getty Images

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