Emails are an integral part of formal business communication. If you never have to write emails as a business chances are high that you are not running the business as professionally as can be. You must understand that a business email varies significantly from just any other email though similarities can be found. Knowing how to write a good business email is central to your business communications. Often times when you are dealing with highly professional individuals or other businesses the need for writing professional business emails can never be overemphasized. In this article I discuss some of the aspects that connote a good business email.
Be Brief And Concise
Before I even begin to touch on the email format you must always have this in mind. An email must be brief and concise otherwise you risk not getting it fully read. You must factor in the possibility that your recipient has a busy schedule so they cannot afford to spend too long on just one email. In fact, they might be having a long string of emails needing their attention so cut to the chase. This working principle will help you to objectively compose your email including only pertinent and necessary details. In cases where you realize the details you want to cover are quite voluminous then it becomes vital to create a separate document that you will attach.
Take Heed Of The Basic Format
Already I have highlighted something about being brief and concise. That on its own should hint you on how simple and straightforward a business email should be. You shall even see this as I discuss a bit about the main components regarding the format of a business email. There are 4 main sections of a business email namely, subject line, salutation, body text and signature.
Again keep this brief and concise. A sense of value proposition must be evident in your subject line i.e. the recipient must immediately see why it is important for them to read your email. Deliberately use wording that makes it easy for searching or filtering the email. Remember to use the Cc and Bcc features where applicable. Cc is for addresses you also want to receive a copy of email you are sending – every recipient will see who else was sent the email. Bcc is for when you do not want everyone to know as is the case for Cc.
Here I am referring to the greeting note (which must never be left out). How you will structure your greeting note depends on who the recipient is and the nature of your working relationship. Before I elaborate on that always remember that as a rule of thumb, a greeting note must be followed by a comma sign (,). Since we are talking about business emails I shall only mention about how to formally greet your recipient. Despite it being first contact or there is some semblance of familiarity it is recommended to address your recipient using their title and last name. Use of first names is usually discouraged against as that might come off as being disrespectful. Another thing to note is that you must capitalize each first letter of every word written in the greeting note. Some say that adding a pleasantry just after the greeting note can be a great idea. An example of a professional greeting note and pleasantry is Good Afternoon Mr Masarakufa, and then you jump to the next line and say I believe you are doing well. A salutation can be followed by a brief introduction where applicable e.g. first contact emails. You jump a line and you go into the:
Your body text will show whether or not you were sure about your purpose for the email to begin with. It is advised to focus exclusively on one issue when composing an email. This helps in keeping it short plus it can be easily processed by the recipient as opposed to an email touching on multiple issues. Supposing you delve into numerous issues in one email you will realize that in most cases it becomes difficult to come up with an appropriate subject line. So as a rule of thumb, cover just one main issue per email. Remember that our core working principle is being brief and concise. There are some experts who advise on confining your body text to just 5 sentences – the optimal size for a good email. After the body text you can optionally include a concluding remark.
Your email signature is important because it gives you room to provide your contact details and other relevant personal details and even URL links. To avoid scenarios where you forget to include your email signature you can take of advantage of in-built features in email clients. For instance, if you go to settings in Gmail you select the ‘Signature’ to enter a default email signature that will be automatically appended to every email you send out. A signature can be made up of your full name, designation, contact details and relevant links.
Wear Your Recipient’s Shoes
Picture yourself being the recipient and envisage how you will possibly interpret or react to the email you are planning to send. Using this approach will help you compose an email that is most likely going to be taken as should be without any misinterpretation or any offense taken.
It is possible to get emails misinterpreted so ensure you avoid ambiguity in your words, phrases or statements. Use simple English employing the use of short words, phrases or statements. Do not crowd your email sections; earlier you noticed I mentioned ‘jump to the next line’ – do this after every section to make an email orderly and pleasant to read. Never use shorthand or un-explained abbreviations – use full words. Lastly, never rush through writing an email; take your time to ensure there are no typos or grammatical errors.