Email is one of the most common forms of communication in business, so it is vital to know how to draft one in an efficient manner. Many employees report that they receive too much email, and those that are long and ambiguous might go unread or unanswered. A good email will ensure a prompt response.
A business email is much more informal than a written letter, but not as informal as a personal email. It should not include emoticons or abbreviations, though it depends on the relationship between sender and receiver. An email to a friend or close colleague can ignore the rules of etiquette.
Emails should be short and to the point. Always include a clear message in the subject line, so the recipient knows whether it is important. It is fine to begin the email with the greeting “Hello”, and to use the person’s first name if you have previously had contact. If you have not met the person, or he or she is more senior, it is always safe to use “Dear Mr./Mrs. X.”
If necessary, identify yourself in the first paragraph. Use simple language, and give all the important information at the top of the e-mail. Add the details in the following paragraphs, but avoid writing too much. If the email contains multiple messages, you can number the points to ensure the reader will take notice, or send separate emails. If it contains too much information, it might be better to speak face to face. As for format, use bullet points or lists if possible, do not use all capitals, and choose a font that is easy to read.
Make sure to clearly describe what action, if any, you want the recipient to do. Let them know if you are including attachments. End it in a polite manner and add a friendly comment. Make sure you identify yourself properly, along with any necessary contact information. And of course, remember to proofread. Emails that are full of errors project an incompetent organization. Correct any grammar and spelling mistakes, in order to maintain a professional environment.
Greetings:Dear Mr. Patterson,
Introducing or identifying yourself:
I am working on the Smith account.
We met at the conference in March last year.
I am writing with regard to the meeting on 25/06.
Asking a question:
Could you let me know…?
I am writing to ask…
I’m just emailing to ask..
Giving good news:
I am happy to say that…
I am pleased to announce…
Giving bad news:
I am afraid that…
I am sorry to say that…
Request for action:
Do you think you could check it out for me?
Could you please look into this matter?
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this one.
I look forward to your response.
I await your response at the earliest convenience.
No reply necessary.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Many thanks for your time.
Thanks in advance.
Referring to an attachment:
You can find the rest of the information in the attached file.
Enjoy your weekend!
Mistakes when sending an email
- Making it too long. This is the number one reason e-mails are not read.
- USING ALL CAPS, which is the equivalent of shouting.
- Assuming that no one else will read it.
- Forgetting to attach a document.
- Using too many graphics or colors that make it difficult to read.