How to Write Good Emails
Writing good emails need not be an art form. In fact, it really should be linked to one word, and one word only: simplicity.
So, whether you are a new, junior office worker, or the head of the business, here are some practical tips to follow for writing good emails:
Start with the right salutation
Always bear in mind who you are writing your email to, who is your audience? Generally speaking, there are formal emails, and informal or casual emails, so select the right way to begin based on the type of email you are sending.
In a more formal email, ‘Dear’ is the classic start, whereas in something more casual you may choose to begin with ‘Hi’. Either way, make sure you start with the right tone, and that also goes for whether you choose to use first names or surnames.
In the vast majority of English-speaking countries, using first names, even in business, is common practice, so if you do choose to begin with a Mr. or Mrs., really make sure that it is appropriate.
Start with a clear, friendly, and polite opening line
It would be very unusual, even in more formal business emails, to get straight down to business, so your opening line should be something a little more personable, just to break the ice, as they say.
‘I hope this email finds you well.’
This is a classic and trusted opening sentence. And once again, it follows the golden rule of simplicity.
The main body
Now you get to your point, but in doing so, remember that English is a very indirect language, so launching immediately into the problem – if there is one – may be interpreted as being a little dramatic and aggressive.
Explain the point clearly, being careful to avoid overlong sentences (which breaks the rule of simplicity). Include all necessary information, but do not over-egg the pudding as is said in English (you do not need to repeat the point several times: once is sufficient).
The call to action
Here is the part of your email that makes it abundantly clear what you want the receiver to do with this information.
‘Please can you check the order and get back to me as soon as possible.’
This example is a clear indication of what you want the other person to do. You could even include the call to action before the main body of the text in which you explain the reasons for doing this. At all times just make sure that the flow of the email is logical.
Now you prepare the person receiving the email for your sign-off. Try to be polite, succinct, and relevant to what you have asked the person to do in the call to action.
‘Your assistance in this matter is most appreciated.’
This example is clear, appreciative, and polite. Once again, keeping it simple is the best practice here.
The ending salutation
In the opening salutation we considered the formality of the email, so make sure that your sign-off matches that formality. As always, the classic, traditional sign-offs are best, for example:
There is very little reason to deviate from these tried-and-tested endings, unless you are really looking to make a particular impact, or emphasize your individuality. That’s something to think about.
And last, of all, think carefully if you are going to include your surname. Generally speaking, if you are sending the email externally, it would be the right approach to include your first and surname, but without any unnecessary titles such as ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’.
Important checks to make before you send your email
Of course, an email littered with spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes is not going to leave a good impression, even if it follows the structure as already laid out. Here are some of the classic mistakes to avoid.
Don’t make your email too long, or too short
Don’t write an essay as an email. Certainly don’t include long paragraphs that people don’t want to read. Avoid repeating yourself, and create short, concise sentences that are polite in nature.
At the same time, being too short can seem a little needlessly impolite, so strike the right balance here. Consider the person who is opening the email: does the length and presentation of that email leave them wanting to read it?
Proofread your email before you send it
This is basic advice, but it is incredible how many people hit that ‘send’ button before giving their email a second readthrough. Basic spell-check software can only help you so much, so it is advisable to use something a little more sophisticated, such as Linguix’s AI-powered writing assistant, that can help you identify grammatical mistakes and stylistic errors.
But at the same time. Re-read it before you send it. If it is a particularly important email, ask a colleague to read it first too, as sometimes a clean pair of eyes can make a difference.
And that’s it. It’s not rocket science, but it does need a clear strategy, a clean structure, and accuracy. Linguix offers a number of useful templates that you can utilize for your email writing, so come find out what is on offer.