How to Write Business Emails
Avoid saying too much in the subject header, but make sure it reflects the content of your Email to a person
unfamiliar with you. If possible, include a keyword that will make the Email content easier to remember and/or
search for in a crowded inbox.
For example, “ Meeting regarding the damaged escalator on May 12th” is specific enough that the email topic won’t be mistaken for anything else but not so specific as to be distracting (ex. “Schedule, Guest List, Lunch Requests, and Meeting Overview for May 12th"). The professionals may receive hundreds or more emails per day, the more specific and appealing the subject is, the easier it will be to connect it with one's personal work.
People are busy, and they do not want to spend much time reading work emails. Make your emails as short as they
can be while still providing all the details necessary. Your sentences should be short and to the point.
Before sending your email, read over it and eliminate any irrelevant information. Generally, if you have provided excess or off-topic information, delete it.
Do not make the reader guess that you are asking for a decision, or advice, a referral, or a purchase. Ask for
directly and unequivocally for what it is that you want, need or expect! Asking clearly is especially important
if you are sending to multiple people. And, make sure to call out the name of the specific person you need
to make the decision. For example: "
Elizabeth: Would you prefer I go down path A or path B here?"
Alternatively, if your email is only informing someone of something rather than asking for an action, clearly label the email as "FYI" in the subject or in first sentence.
- Depending on your relationship with the recipient, you may want use formal openings and closings. The following
provide some direction and an array of choices.
- Begin your email with a greeting. The greeting should be concise and formal. You may or may not choose to address a person specifically by name, depending on the context of the message. A message to another business or to an unspecified person does not require a name. Some examples of greetings are:
- End the email with a closing. An appropriate closing is polite and signals that the email has come to an end. While the closing of an email may not bear a common letter closing such as “Best Wishes” or “Sincerely,” it is considered a "best practice" to provide a closing to your email. Some potential closings:
Dear Dr. Smith,
I look forward to your response,
hope to hear from you soon,
Thank you for your time,
Do your best to ensure that your email does not include grammar or spelling mistakes and uses standard punctuation.
Many email programs include a spell check option; if your email has one, use it! Poor grammar almost certainly
will undermine the message that you are sending, so, if possible use an grammar checker.
If you are sending an email to a large number of people or if the email is particularly important, you may want to have someone (or several individuals) proofread it before you send it.