Why You Should Adapt Your Email Writing Style to Your Recipient

Everyone has a their own special way of communication and expression over email.

Some are more formal and start each message with a salutation like “Hi, Charles –” and end with a goodbye like “Sincerely, Howard.” They do this every single email, even if it’s a rapid fire conversation.

There are others who don’t address me by name at all. Just plain, unlabeled dialog with no greeting or exit. Sometimes all lower case.

Then there’s the signature. You’ve got the ones who type out their name at the end of each message, and those who rely on the standard pre-written signature. More spartan email writers leave no name.

All this variation goes to show that in email, there are no hard or fast rules. It’s a syntax and lexicon free-for-all.

So what’s my point?

I’m particular to this subject in that I almost always adapt my email writing style to match the style of the person I’m engaged with.

For example, if they don’t start out addressing me by name, I won’t either. If they end with “Thanks, Mindy” I’ll end with “Thanks, Charles.” Excessive use of exclamation points? I’ll go there.

The reason I do this is I notice that when you match the communication style of someone over email, you have a much easier time getting to the point. I get better results when the person on the receiving end doesn’t have to decipher what I’m trying to say, or better yet–how I’m trying to say it.

Put yourself in the situation: You’re engaged in an email conversation and the person on the other end is conveying their message to you in such a way that leaves no guessing. You feel comfortable. The tone is relevant to your tone. No time gets wasted.

Try this—it really works!

Photo by Kanko*

  • I heard something similar years ago and I try to do exactly what you say above in most emails. The question I have for you is does this apply to mobile responses? ie- iPhone/ipad. I have a generic signature from my phone that states at the end “please excuse and typos and/or short responses” right before “sent from my iPhone”

    • Charles

      That’s a good one, Chad, and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who does this. Mobile messaging is even tighter. I personally leave off my iPhone signature.

  • I meant “any typos…”

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