Charm is a quality so innate that it's hard to describe and seemingly even harder to acquire. Charm is about being genuinely interested in your peers, remembering their names and creating a rapport. Yet just like correspondence, charm is an art that can be learned and honed, and manifest in all kinds of interactions. If you’re wondering how to turn a regular email into correspondence that oozes old school charm and guarantees your reader's engagement, here are our top 5 tips for expressing yourself in a more charming fashion:
1. Use the proper address
Unlike in an email to a friend or even a close work colleague where you might just open with a “hi” and if they're lucky, call them by their first name, writing an email in a charming manner means using the proper greeting and address. This is especially true if it's the first time you're writing to someone in a professional context. Open your email with “Dear Ms./Mr./Dr./Prof. (last name)”. If they respond by signing off in their first name only, then take is as a sign that you're on a first name basis for ongoing correspondence.
2. Turn a demand into a request
In our mailfixing we see a lot of emails that say things like “send me the presentation” or “tell me the dates you'll be here” and while this might not be incorrect, it’s not the most charming way to ask for something and it's certainly not the way you're guaranteed to get it. If you have a request, English requires us to be amiable. Write something like “could you please send me the presentation” or “I'd be grateful to know the dates of your visit”; your email will radiate charm.
3. Make the reader feel special
People like to feel appreciated and important no matter what their position or relationship with you might be. Throwing in a little respect is an easy way to make your email more charming and to make the reader more likely to feel good about working with you. It can be as simple as thanking them for taking the time to read your message, or signing off that you're looking forward to hearing from them. If it's a blind email, do a quick google check to see who you're actually corresponding with and connect on a more personal level to entirely engage your reader. A few relatable words will guarantee a positive response.
4. Say please and thank you
Different cultures have different etiquette around saying please and thank you but in English if you're not gracious – you simply won't get very far. If you make a request, please say please. And if the person you're corresponding with has helped you out in some way, be sure to say thank you – and mean it. True charm is conveyed through authenticity, while fabrications are transparent. Two such humble phrases conveyed genuinely will get you exactly what you want.
5. Sign your emails appropriately
Signing off an email is like that final smile at the end of a conversation that serves to seal the deal; it has to exude charm and project professionalism, leaving the reader with the confidence that they're in good hands, that you're worthy. A sign off like "thanks and best" or simply "thanks", or simply "best", closes your correspondence on an engaging and professional note, while leaving your reader anticipating your next communique.
Like charm, emails are a tricky form of communication; there are no guarantees about how you'll be read. Set yourself up for success by making sure that your email is overtly charming and you’ll be sure to make a positive, professional impression.