Writing business email is something that many people have difficulty with, as they aren’t sure how formal they should be and what to include.
Business communication letter writing was the main form of communication in business and still is an important way for people to keep in contact, but business emails have now become the main method for people to communicate in business.
There were well established conventions relating to writing business letters so everyone was able to know how they should write them. But with business emails these conventions aren’t as well established.
Writing business email is a less formal form of communication than business letters.
Email is a quick and direct form of communication so write short and direct emails. These should remain focused on their purpose and come to the point quickly.
There are several parts of the email and I’ll discuss each in turn.
Include a short and specific subject in the subject field. This is to help the receiver. They’ll be able to better sort their email and deal with it efficiently if they can see what each message is about quickly and easily.
Also, messages without a subject might get rejected or sorted into the spam folder.
Even though emails are less formal you still need a proper greeting at the start. You should use a similar greeting style as used in the proper format for business letters. This is ‘Dear’ followed by the persons title and name (full name if possible – first and surnames). This can be followed by a colon or a comma: a colon in the first message and commas after that.
The main body should address the subject of the email quickly and concisely. Don’t waste words and stick to the subject.
Quickly state the information you want to send to the receiver or why you’re emailing. Then explain what needs to be done by the receiver.
Often there'll be at least one attachment. Summarize what you’ve attached and what needs to be done with it. For example, if you want comments from the receiver say so, or if the attachment is just for their records state that.
Choose a general closing that’s appropriate for nearly all circumstances and use it on all your emails, such as, ‘best wishes’, ‘sincerely’ ‘thank you’. This closing will become associated with you by all the people you email regularly and it’ll add familiarity. Then on the next line type your name. You can just use your first name as your full name will be in your email signature.
You should set a signature that’s attached to all your emails. This should include your full name, title and job, company name and address as well as your telephone numbers. Keep the signature as short as possible but also include all the information someone would need to contact you.
Once the send button has been clicked the email is gone and you can’t make any changes. This is one of the biggest problems with email writing. You can send something in a moment and regret it later.
When writing business email remember:
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By Jolyon Dodgson, copyright © 2011-2017.
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