Emails are one of the most common communication tools in business – but they aren’t always as effective as we would want them to be. The tricky thing about business writing is that businesspeople are often busy and unable to spend a lot of time on reading all that comes to their inbox thoroughly. That’s why emails – even the most serious ones – could be easily misunderstood.
But of course, you wouldn’t want this to happen with your own emails. So here are some tips to keep in mind to make the most out of business email writing.
Address People Appropriately
There aren’t many things that are as embarrassing as addressing a person by the wrong name, title or gender. Though your business partners might not make a fuss about it, this still isn’t an impression you want to make.
Therefore, always try to get as much information you can about the person you’re writing to. If you are unable to confirm their gender or to spell their name right even after doing your research and contacting people who may know this, stick to gender-neutral language like «they» and «you».
Remember to double-check your email before sending it off.
Keep It Short And Polite
Businesspeople are busy, so sticking to short and concise emails are the best, however, don’t abandon the formalities.
Even if you don’t want to write a lot, start with a formal greeting and a nice introduction, and end your email with a proper goodbye. This won’t make your email much bigger but will make it look polite.
Mention One Thing Per Email
There might be a lot of things you want to ask, but you need to pick one to mention in your email. This will help keep it short and ensure that the recipient won’t be confused by the number of things addressed.
An email conversation differs from a conversation in person. In email format, it’s best to discuss one thing at a time to be more effective and to prevent the chance that something goes unnoticed. If you do need to discuss a variety of topics, it’s better to write separate emails for each one of them.
Clearly State What You Want And What Action You Expect
Now that you’ve chosen one thing you want to discuss in this specific email, you need to describe it clearly. You also need to include a clear call to action at the end of your letter.
In your case, the call to action would probably differ from a traditional sales one, yet it’s still important to mention it. If you do want the recipient to arrange a phone or Skype talk, to send you some information or simply to answer your question – always state it.
This way you can ensure that you’ll be understood correctly. You’ll also ensure that the recipient understands the purpose of your message even after reading it very quickly or simply scanning it.
Pay Attention To The Attachments
You don’t always need to attach something to an email – but if you do, you need to make sure that it is done right.
- First of all, don’t forget to leave company logos out: they are shown as attachments often and you probably wouldn’t want the recipient to waste time on opening attachments that are meaningless to them.
- Second, ensure that you attached everything that you need and that the format is appropriate. It’s always safer to settle with the most common formats as chances are the recipient would open them from a mobile device.
- Third, you need to make sure that the attachments you include aren’t too large. Like previously stated, there’s a big chance the recipient will try downloading them from a mobile device – and using mobile internet. In this case, large attachments download much slower or even fail to download, which could result in them simply disregarding your email.
The art of business email writing might seem hard to master – but actually, it’s pretty simple. The last (and the most important) tip I want to give you is to try to be emphatic in your writing. Think of whether you would want to help the person writing the email (you) and try to come up with ways to make the reading quicker and easier even for the busiest people, eliminate errors and typos mercilessly, and be polite.
If the final draft looks like an email you would read and reply to with pleasure – this means you’re doing everything right!
Christina Battons is a creative writer and content strategist from LA. Currently, she writes for various sites. Her posts address the topics about self-education, writing, motivation, professional development, also persuasive speech topics for college. In her spare time, she prefers to read novels and crime thriller stories. Feel free to follow her on @battonschristi to ask questions or see her works.