Email is definitely the most popular form of written communication in the business world. Writing emails in anything but your mother tongue can be stressful and a little scary at first, but don’t worry – practise makes perfect and we’re going to look at a few ways to help you conquer writing emails! If you’re getting ready to send an email in English, you might be:
- writing to your English-speaking boss about a situation a work
- a new, international client
- a colleague from another country
- your professor at an English-speaking university
- applying for a new job at an English-speaking company
In every one of these situations, you’ll need to use ‘different’ vocabulary than the kind you use in informal situations. Emails are slightly less formal than business letters, but there are still some rules you should follow when you want to sound more professional.
1 | Use the Email Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing your reader will see, and should be clear and short to catch their attention and help them know what your email is about.
- Meeting date changed
- Question about the conference
- Can you meet on Monday?
- Suggestion for your presentation
2 | Always Use a Professional Greeting
You should always start your emails with a friendly (but professional) ‘hello’! If you start without one, your reader will definitely notice something was missing. An email without a greeting, or with a greeting that is far too informal, is seen as rude and overly-familiar.
- Hello [first name],
- Good morning / Good afternoon [first name],
- Dear [first name],
3 | Keep it Simple
Try to keep things short and simple, especially if you’re not confident in your abilities yet. Just make sure that all the information your reader needs to know is included in the email.
- Avoid long, complicated sentences,
- Try not to write many long paragraphs
- Use bullet points for important details or lists
4 | Always Use a Professional Closing
Just as you open an email with a greeting, you should always include a few closing lines to be friendly, polite and show that you’re at the end of your email. Without a closing, the end of the email feels abrupt and rude.
Examples of professional closings:
- I look forward to hearing from you.
- Best wishes,
- Thank you for your time,
- Kind regards,
- Best regards,
5 | Proofread, proofread, and proofread
When you’re writing to your employer, colleague, or lecturer, it becomes even more important to check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation before hitting ‘send.’ If you’re uncertain about something in your email, try reading the email out loud or ask a friend to check your email for you!
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