If you are working in an office or a clerical role, you’ll need to write emails. And, you’ll want those messages to send a good impression. Follow these tips to keep your correspondence top notch.
Know Your Audience
Business emails usually fall into two categories: formal and informal. You don’t want to sound overly official or too casual, so take the time to think about who you are addressing. Apply a formal style for someone you don’t know and an informal manner for coworkers or colleagues.
Start with a Strong Title
The title is the first thing someone sees. If the subject is vague or confusing, your recipient may not even open the message. They’ll send it straight to the trash. Since this defeats the purpose of your communication, compose a clear and concise subject line. Most experts recommend using a maximum of six to ten words.
Greet the Reader
Whenever possible, catch the person’s attention by opening the message with their name. To be polite, begin with a salutation. “Hi” or “Hello” is fine for informal emails but stick with “Dear” for more formal correspondence.
Introduce the Topic
The first sentence or two should explain the point of communication. People are busy and don’t have time to scroll through lines of text. They should know and understand the purpose of your message at a glance.
Make the Text Easy to Read
Long text blocks are challenging to view and comprehend, especially on a screen. Stick to short paragraphs with spaces in between. If appropriate, use bulleted or numbered lists, so it’s easy to skim through the information.
Provide a Clear Conclusion
When the person finishes your email, they should know what they need to do. Briefly summarize the content of the message and provide a call to action. Tell them exactly what to do and how to do it. For example, “Please respond to this message if you have any questions.”
Avoid jokes, silly comments, or sarcasm in electronic correspondence. Unlike in conversations, the person can’t hear your tone. They only see the words on the page. Therefore, it’s easy to misinterpret something you may have meant merely as a flippant remark.
Be sure the recipient knows who you are. Close with “Sincerely” or “Best regards” for formal emails and “Best” or “Regards” for informal communication. End the message by typing your name and your title.
Proofread Before Sending
Not only do typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors look amateur, but also, they can make your email challenging to understand. Read your message several times, forwards and backward to catch any mistakes. Or, better yet, have someone else double-check it for you in case you missed something.
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