Learning how to write emails in a business environment can be confusing. Below are ten tips that can help you write better business emails in English.
1. Write a short title (Subject line):
By reading the title of your email it should be obvious what the email is about. Avoid important and urgent. Examples:
• Summary of Friday’s Staff Meeting
• 4th Quarter Financial Report
• Follow-up the Jan 29th Conference Call
• Questions about New Position
2. Emails should be short and specific:
Your email should be clear and concise. People should be able to quickly open your email and know what the purpose and key points of it are. For example:
• Attached are the files you requested.
• Below are the answers to your inquiry.
• Training proposal for the Unicons account
3. Formal vs. Informal Emails:
When addressing clients and customers you should keep your email formal.
• Formal: I have attached the report you requested. Please let me know if you have any questions.
• Formal: Thank you for taking the time to meet with us on Tuesday. I have attached the proposal we discussed. Please let me know if you have any questions.
When emailing with your co-workers it can be more informal.
• Informal: The report is attached. Questions?
• Informal: Proposal from Tuesdays meeting is attached. Let me know if you have questions.
4. Avoid emoticons or text speak:
This should be reserved only for personal emails.
5. Think carefully before hitting “Reply All”:
Ask yourself “do all these people really need to see my reply”? If not, reply only to the original writer.
6. Helpful ways to end emails:
• Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
• Thank you for considering my request.
• I appreciate your help with this situation.
• Thanks you for taking the time to read this email.
• Thank you for replying quickly.
• I hope to resolve this quickly.
• Thank you for addressing this matter in a timely fashion.
• Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
• Your effort is appreciated.
7. Your email signature should include your contact information:
It should have your title, email, phone, address, website or any other relevant information. You can program this in most email clients to automatically insert into the bottom of your email.
8. Proof read your email before sending it:
Check your spelling, punctuation and proof read (reread) your email for errors before you send it. Emails with errors will make you look unprofessional.
Never use all caps or all lowercase. Use a plain font that is clear and easy to read. Basic fonts like Arial, Verdana, and Times New Roman work well. Select a 12 point font size.
10. Reply to all emails within 24 Hours
Replying to emails quickly is an important way to show clients and colleagues that you are attentive to their needs and deadlines. If you receive an email request that that you will NOT be able to address within 24 hours send an email such as:
“I received your email. I am presently working on your request and will get back to you with a summary in 2-3 days. Thank you for your patience”.
By acknowledging that you received the email and that it will take you extra time the person that sent the request will know that you are working on the matter.
If you are on a business trip or on holiday be sure to set an auto-responder that tells anyone that emails you that you are out of the office. For example:
“Thanks for your email. I will be out of the office from Thursday 30th January to Wednesday 5th February . I will be back in the office on Thursday, 6th February. If you have something urgent please call my colleague *name* on *number*. Thank you”.