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Author: Peyton DeMaio

Legacy Blog: The Final Art Form

The Final Art Form

By Peyton DeMaio

Before I say anything else, I need to thank Marina and Suzanna from the bottom of my heart. You guys allowed me to join the team and gave me an opportunity to better my writing unlike so many of the other places I applied. So thank you, I hope I did what was expected of me and maybe even a little more.

With that being said, there is one thing that I have always struggled with that during my time here I think I have improved on marginally. It goes under the radar and I’m not sure if anyone else even feels this way but I think there might be a hidden art form in writing emails. So that is what I am writing my legacy blog about- emails.

I have lost hours of my life writing emails. In a general sense, I hate them and I wish they would go away. Since it seems like that won’t happen, I have had to learn to live with them. 

I can never quite get the tone right. I understand that writing a “professional” email needs to sound a certain way but I never talk like that. If I send someone an email that says “I hope this email finds you well,” not only would I have to take a long look in the mirror and ask myself what happened, but I might also have to speak with that person at some point in the future. Now am I supposed to keep up that shtick? Am I supposed to say “per our last conversation” to someone in person? Nobody talks like that, do they? I sure don’t and have never liked pretending to be something I am not.

There’s also the problem of sometimes you don’t know the recipient of your email too well. You don’t know what they are expecting to see. Maybe your email about applying to the new position is going to some guy who is retiring in a month and he wants that fancy weird email talk because it’s “professional”. But maybe it’s going to the new HR hire who is dying for someone to write their email in an authentic voice. I want to be some kind of writer one day and I feel like in this creative industry, some places would want their writers to be a little bit more wacky than their accountants. 

I know that all sounds bleak, but like I said earlier, I think I have gotten better. In the months that I’ve been here, I have written hundreds of emails to people. Most of the time it is job-related, trying to get in contact with Creative Directors directly instead of submitting an application and not hearing anything back. Sometimes I got an answer, but a lot of the time I did not. Sometimes I would even get an answer, then I would reply, and then I would hear nothing back. I’d send follow-ups but at a certain point, you need to know when you’re unwanted. I say all this so you can trust me when I say I know my way around an email. Or at least I am learning my way around an email.

With all that being said, I’d like to share a few nuggets of wisdom I’ve gathered during my ongoing quest to master the art of email writing. These are not hard-and-fast rules but rather friendly reminders that might make this journey a bit smoother:

Authenticity Matters: While professionalism is crucial, don’t sacrifice your authentic voice. People appreciate sincerity, and your genuine self is your most valuable asset.

Know Your Audience: Understanding your recipient is half the battle. Tailor your tone and style based on who you’re communicating with. A more formal approach might be suitable for some, while others might welcome a casual touch.

Clarity is Key: Be clear and concise. Nobody enjoys deciphering a cryptic email. State your purpose up front and avoid unnecessary jargon.

Subject Lines are Front and Center: Craft subject lines that grab attention. It’s the first thing your recipient sees, and a well-thought-out subject can make the difference between an opened email and one lost in the depths of the inbox. Sometimes this is an opportunity to make a big splash. Once I titled an email EMERGENCY and then it was just a job application. Someone emailed me back and said they got a kick out of it. I did not get the job.

Timing Matters: Pay attention to when you send your emails. Sending a message at midnight might not be as effective as waiting for business hours. Respect your recipient’s time. Don’t wait too long between emails either, this person is doing you a favor by even reading what you said, let alone responding. Don’t for a second let them think you lost interest or don’t care.

Proofread, Then Proofread Again: Typos and grammatical errors can undermine your professionalism. Take a moment to proofread your emails before hitting send. I sent a few emails that were copied and pasted attempts at job applications with the same Dear Mr. Taylor right at the top so I shot myself in the foot with at least two Creative Directors before I even met them. Proofread people. 

Follow-Up with Purpose: If you’re following up on an email, provide context. Not everyone has a perfect memory, and a brief reminder of the previous conversation can be helpful.

Embrace Politeness, but Be Genuine: Politeness goes a long way, but be sincere about it. If you’re not naturally inclined to use certain formalities, find a balance that feels authentic to you.

Remember, the art of email writing is a journey, not a destination. It’s about continuous learning and adapting. So, here’s to crafting emails that not only convey the message but also reflect the artistry within you. May your inbox be filled with meaningful connections and professional triumphs. Happy Hunting!

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