A Professional’s Guide to Writing Emails
According to Oberlo, over 347 billion emails will be sent and received per day in 2023. That’s a lot of digital communication! For many people in the workforce, sending emails has become second nature. But for the college graduates just getting started, effectively writing an email can take a bit of practice.
Here are six steps to craft a complete and concise professional email:
- Form a short and informative subject line.
The subject line clearly summarizes the reason for the email and what the reader can expect to find in the body. It should be comprehensive, yet short, so the recipient can go back and find it in their inbox when needed. A good rule of thumb is to keep it under 60 characters.
- Begin with a proper greeting.
The greeting is important because it’s the first thing the recipient will read and sets the tone for the rest of the email. If you’re writing a formal email to someone you don’t have a professional relationship with or have never met, use “Dear.” “Hello” and “hi” are acceptable greetings for a colleague or someone with whom you have a familiar professional relationship. For ongoing back-and-forth conversations, you can eliminate the greeting altogether.
- Understand and explain your intention.
Establish the goal of your email and let the recipient know what your intention is from the beginning. Start by using phrases like, “This email is just for your information…” or “I’m writing to seek your feedback on…” to get your point across. Reiterate your “ask” at the end of the email to ensure it is clear and understandable to the recipient.
- Create a concise body.
Emails are best used to relay information quickly, so keep it concise. If you have a lot of information to convey, consider setting up a meeting or including the content in an attachment that the recipient can save to read or print later. Include all necessary information and use bullets, bolding and underlining to call out key points and call to actions. The body should come to a concluding point and include a closing remark, such as, “Thank you for your time today” or “Please let me know if you have any questions.”
- End with a sign-off and signature.
A professional email always ends with a sign-off and signature. There is no set way to sign-off in an email, but a few safe options to use are “thank you,” “sincerely,” “best,” and “regards.” Follow with a signature block, which typically includes your name, title, and company, and be sure to include alternate contact information if you want the person to be able to reach you by other means.
- Proofread your email.
The last step is to proofread your entire email before sending. Don’t rely on proofing tools – whether built into your email software or added on – to catch everything, and double check the recipient field to ensure your email gets where it’s supposed to go!
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