Examples of Poorly Written Business Emails: How to Avoid Common Mistakes

May 21, 2023



    In this article, we will discuss the importance of effective business email communication, common mistakes in poorly written emails, and real-life examples to help you avoid these pitfalls in your own correspondence.

    Real-life Examples of Poorly Written Business Emails

    Example 1. Overly Casual Email

    Subject: Hey!


    Hey there! 🤗Remember our talk about the refund thingy? Well, can ya help me out with that? I wanna get my money back ASAP! 😁TTYL! 👋

    Revised Version:

    Subject: Refund Inquiry


    Hello,I hope you're doing well. We previously discussed a refund request for my purchase. I would appreciate your assistance in processing this refund as soon as possible.Thank you in advance.

    Example 2. Impolite Email

    Subject: URGENT: FIX THIS NOW!


    This is UNACCEPTABLE! My order hasn't arrived yet, and I'm FURIOUS! You better fix this situation right now, or I'll make sure to give you the WORST review possible!

    Revised Version:

    Subject: Urgent: Order Not Received


    I hope this email finds you well. Unfortunately, I have not received my order, and I am quite concerned about this. I kindly request your immediate attention to resolve this issue. I appreciate your assistance in this matter.

    Example 3. Excessively Informal Email

    Subject: Dude, where's my stuff?


    Yo, what's up? So, I've been waiting for like forever for my stuff to arrive, but there's no sign of it. You gotta check this out for me, okay? Thanks, bro!

    Revised Version:

    Subject: Inquiry Regarding Order Status


    Hello,I hope you're having a great day. I am reaching out to inquire about the status of my order, as I have not yet received it. Could you please look into this for me and provide an update? Thank you for your help.

    Example 4. Unfocused Email

    Subject: Re: [No Subject]


    Hey, it's me again. You know, about that thing we talked about last week? I think I need your help again. Oh, and can you check my other issue too?

    Revised Version:

    Subject: Follow-up on Previous Discussion and Additional Issue


    Hello,I hope you're well. I wanted to follow up on our conversation last week regarding [specific issue]. I need further assistance with this matter. Additionally, I have encountered another issue that requires your attention [briefly describe the issue]. Thank you for your help.

    Example 5. Overly Demanding Email

    Subject: DO THIS NOW!


    I don't care what you're doing; drop everything and sort out my problem right now! I expect a solution within the next hour, or else!

    Revised Version:

    Subject: Request for Immediate Assistance


    Hello,I hope this message finds you well. I am encountering an issue that requires your urgent attention [briefly describe the issue]. I understand you may be busy, but I would appreciate it if you could prioritize this matter and provide a prompt resolution. Thank you for your assistance.

    Effective communication is key in the business world, and email is one of the most commonly used channels for exchanging information. However, poorly written business emails can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and even damage professional relationships.

    Let's examine some real-life examples of poorly written business emails and identify how they can be improved:

    Types of Poorly Written Business Emails

    1: The Never-ending Email Chain

    In this scenario, an email chain started as a simple request for information but has snowballed into a confusing mess of replies and forwarded messages among several parties. With inconsistent formatting, unorganized responses, and no clear resolution, the email chain has become nearly impossible to navigate and understand.

    To avoid this situation, ensure that email threads remain focused and clear by keeping replies concise, relevant, and action-oriented. Utilizing clear subject lines and formatting can also help to organize long email chains and make them easier for everyone involved to follow.

    For instance, if you're responding to a specific question or request, make sure to answer it directly and concisely. Avoid including unnecessary information or unrelated topics that may distract from the main point of the email.

    Additionally, if the email chain is becoming too convoluted, consider scheduling a call or meeting to discuss the matter in more detail.

    2: The Passive-aggressive Message

    Passive-aggressive messages can make it difficult for recipients to understand your intentions and respond appropriately. Comments such as "You must be really busy since you haven't replied to my email..." may come across as accusatory and unprofessional.

    Instead, strive to maintain a clear and direct communication style, addressing issues or concerns openly and without passive undertones.

    For instance, a more appropriate follow-up message could be: "I wanted to touch base with you regarding my previous email.

    If you're not able to provide the information I requested, please let me know and I'll seek alternative solutions."

    If you're feeling frustrated or upset about a situation, take a step back before responding to the email. Consider the tone and language you're using and how it may be perceived by the recipient. If necessary, wait until you've had a chance to calm down before composing your response.

    3: The "Reply All" Disaster

    The misuse of the "Reply All" function can lead to cluttered inboxes for recipients who may not need to see every response in the conversation. Overusing "Reply All" can lead to increased email noise and decrease productivity as recipients spend time sifting through irrelevant correspondence.

    Before hitting "Reply All," take a moment to consider whether it's necessary to include everyone in your response. If your email only pertains to certain individuals, consider reaching out to them directly with a separate message.

    Additionally, if you're forwarding an email chain to someone else, make sure to remove any unnecessary recipients to avoid cluttering their inbox.

    Finally, if you're receiving too many "Reply All" messages that aren't relevant to you, consider unsubscribing from the email chain or politely asking the sender to remove you from the conversation.

    4: The Unintentionally Offensive Email

    An email that unintentionally uses offensive language or expressions may cause misunderstandings, damage relationships, and create a hostile work environment. For example, jokes or sarcasm can be easily misinterpreted in written language, leading to unintended consequences.

    To avoid inadvertently causing offense, make an effort to use neutral language and maintain a professional tone in your emails. Furthermore, consider cultural differences and communication styles when working with diverse teams and clients, and adapt your language and tone accordingly.

    If you're unsure about how a particular message may be perceived, consider asking a colleague or supervisor for their input before sending the email. Additionally, if you receive an email that you find offensive or inappropriate, address the issue directly with the sender in a respectful and professional manner.

    5: Lack of Clarity and Conciseness:

    Poorly written business emails often lack clarity and conciseness, making it difficult for the recipient to understand the intended message. Rambling or convoluted sentences, excessive use of jargon, or an overload of unnecessary details can confuse the reader and lead to misunderstandings.

    To avoid this, strive for clear and concise communication. Use simple and straightforward language, break down complex ideas into digestible chunks, and focus on the key points you want to convey. A well-organized and coherent email will help the recipient grasp the information quickly and effectively.

    6: Poor Grammar and Spelling:

    Grammar and spelling mistakes in business emails can leave a negative impression on the recipient. They can indicate a lack of professionalism, attention to detail, and communication skills. It's important to proofread and edit your emails carefully before sending them.

    Check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. Consider using spelling and grammar checking tools or asking a colleague to review your email. Additionally, be mindful of using correct capitalization and punctuation, as they contribute to the overall clarity and readability of your message.

    Taking the time to polish your emails will demonstrate your professionalism and enhance your credibility.

    7: Ineffective Subject Lines:

    Subject lines play a crucial role in capturing the recipient's attention and conveying the purpose of the email. Poorly written subject lines that are vague, generic, or irrelevant can result in your email being overlooked or ignored.

    To create effective subject lines, be specific, concise, and relevant. Clearly indicate the main topic or purpose of the email to set expectations for the recipient. A well-crafted subject line can entice the reader to open the email and ensure that it receives the attention it deserves.

    8: Lack of Proper Greetings and Salutations:

    Neglecting to include a polite greeting and an appropriate closing in your business emails can come across as abrupt or impolite. Taking the time to address the recipient by name and using a courteous and professional tone sets a positive tone for the rest of the email.

    A simple "Hello [Recipient's Name]" or "Dear [Recipient's Name]" followed by a suitable opening sentence helps establish rapport and demonstrates respect for the recipient.

    Similarly, ending the email with an appropriate closing, such as "Best regards" or "Sincerely," shows professionalism and concludes the communication on a polite note.

    9: Absence of Structure and Organization:

    Poorly structured emails can be challenging for recipients to read and comprehend. Emails that lack proper organization and structure can appear cluttered, confusing, and overwhelming.

    To ensure clarity and readability, break your email into paragraphs or bullet points to present information in a logical and organized manner. Start with an introduction that sets the context, use separate paragraphs for different topics or ideas, and conclude with a clear call to action or summary.

    This visual separation and logical flow of information make it easier for the recipient to follow the email's content and grasp the intended message.

    10: Neglecting to Proofread and Edit:

    Sending an email filled with grammar and spelling errors, typos, or inconsistencies reflects poorly on your professionalism and attention to detail. Neglecting to proofread and edit your emails can convey a lack of effort and care in your communication.

    Before hitting the send button, allocate time to review your email meticulously. Check for any errors, including spelling mistakes, incorrect punctuation, or formatting issues. Pay attention to the overall coherence and flow of your email.

    Reading it aloud or asking a colleague for feedback can also help identify areas for improvement. Taking the extra step to proofread and edit ensures that your email is polished, error-free, and presents you in the best possible light.

    The Importance of Effective Business Email Communication

    When used correctly and professionally, email can be an incredibly powerful communication tool. It allows for quick and efficient exchange of information, making it an indispensable part of modern business operations. Effective email communication is essential for several reasons:

    Building Professional Relationships

    Just like in-person communication, your written communication via email shapes your professional image and helps you establish your credibility. By crafting well-thought-out, clear, and concise messages, you show your colleagues, partners, and clients that you value their time and respect their input.

    A well-written email can also demonstrate your attention to detail, organizational skills, and ability to manage tasks efficiently. On the other hand, a poorly written email can leave a negative impression and potentially hinder the development of productive business relationships.

    It's important to note that building professional relationships via email is not just about the content of your messages. The tone and style of your emails can also significantly impact how others perceive you.

    For example, using overly formal language or excessively casual language can both be off-putting to different audiences. Finding the right balance is key to building strong professional relationships.

    Ensuring Clear and Concise Messaging

    In the world of business, time is a valuable commodity. It's crucial to ensure that your message is expressed clearly and concisely, to save recipients time while avoiding potential misunderstandings. Effective business email communication minimizes the need for back-and-forth clarifications and speeds up decision-making processes.

    One way to ensure clear and concise messaging is to use bullet points or numbered lists to break down complex information into easily digestible chunks. This can help ensure that your message is received and understood quickly and efficiently.

    Another important aspect of clear and concise messaging is to avoid using technical jargon or acronyms that may not be familiar to all recipients. If using technical language is necessary, take the time to define any terms that may be unclear to your audience.

    Avoiding Misunderstandings and Conflicts

    Poorly written emails can easily lead to misunderstandings and conflicts, which can negatively impact your professional relationships and overall business operations. By avoiding common business email mistakes and adopting effective email communication strategies, you can prevent unnecessary conflicts and foster a more positive and productive work environment.

    One common mistake to avoid is sending emotionally charged or confrontational emails. If you're feeling frustrated or upset, it's often best to take a break and revisit your message later with a clear head.

    Additionally, always take the time to proofread your emails for typos, grammatical errors, and other mistakes that could impact how your message is received.

    Finally, it's important to remember that email is just one tool in your communication arsenal. In some situations, a phone call, video conference, or in-person meeting may be more appropriate. Knowing when to use each communication method is key to effective business communication.

    Common Mistakes in Poorly Written Business Emails

    When it comes to business communication, email is one of the most widely used tools. However, poorly written business emails can lead to miscommunication, confusion, and even damage to professional relationships. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

    Vague or Ambiguous Subject Lines

    One of the most common mistakes in poorly written business emails is a vague or ambiguous subject line. A subject line that is not clear and specific can cause the recipient to overlook or ignore the email. To avoid this, make sure to use a concise and descriptive subject line that accurately reflects the content of the email.

    For example, instead of using a subject line like "Meeting," use something more specific like "Project X Kick-off Meeting - July 15th at 2 pm." This way, the recipient can quickly identify the purpose of the email and prioritize their response accordingly.

    Excessive Use of Jargon and Acronyms

    While it's important to use industry-specific terminology in business communication, overusing jargon and acronyms can make your message difficult to understand. Not everyone may be familiar with the terms you use, which can lead to confusion and misinterpretation.

    When writing business emails, keep in mind your target audience's level of expertise and familiarity with the subject matter. Aim to strike a balance between technical language and straightforward explanations. If you must use jargon or acronyms, make sure to define them clearly in the email.

    Lack of Proper Formatting and Structure

    A poorly formatted email can be hard to read and understand. Long blocks of text or lack of proper paragraph breaks can make it difficult for the recipient to decipher and may cause them to miss important information.

    When writing business emails, make sure to use proper formatting and structure. Use paragraphs and bullet points to break up large chunks of text and make it easier to read. Always double-check your formatting before sending the email.

    Overuse of Emojis and Informal Language

    Emojis and informal language may be appropriate for casual conversations between friends, but they have no place in business communication. Overusing these elements can make your message appear unprofessional and diminish your credibility.

    When writing business emails, always maintain a professional tone and use appropriate language. Avoid using emojis or colloquial expressions, as they can be perceived as unprofessional.

    Ignoring the Importance of Tone and Politeness

    The tone of your email can greatly impact how it is received by the recipient. Without body language and voice intonation, it can be easy for the tone of an email to be misinterpreted. It's essential to pay close attention to your tone and ensure that your emails sound polite, respectful, and professional.

    Using courteous language such as "please" and "thank you," and addressing recipients politely can greatly impact the overall tone of your email. Remember, maintaining positive business relationships is crucial for success in any industry.

    By recognizing common business email mistakes and developing effective communication strategies, you can ensure that your emails are clear, concise, and professional. By doing so, you will benefit not only your professional relationships but also your overall success in the business world.

    Looking for More Wisdom?

    If you are looking for other articles on email examples, then these articles are a must see:

    1. supliful.com/blog/facebook-email-signup-form-examples
    2. supliful.com/blog/newsletter-signup-form-examples
    3. supliful.com/blog/professional-business-email-address-examples

    These posts will help you learn more about how to write emails, so you can improve your communication skills.


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