Ding! You’ve got mail! We receive tons of such notifications every day. Some of them we skip, others require a thoughtful reply — it all depends on a subject. If you’re curious how to write emails like a true professional, you’re in the right place. Find our tried-and-tested tips below.
How to write emails that work? Everyone faces this question sooner or later. Email communication dominates the business world so we should learn how to compose emails right. Let’s get it started!
1. Start with a specific subject line.
A lot of people send emails with an empty subject line. Sadly but true. How does it happen? They consider a subject line as the least priority and focus on the email body itself. Once they’ve finished, they hastily press ‘Send’. End of story.
We encourage you to start writing email with a subject line. Keep it clear and short (e.g. Meeting date changed, Job title_Your Name, New website launch). You can fine-tune a subject line afterward if needed.
2. Use a professional email address.
Don’t use that funny email address that you’ve had since 13 (e.g. butterfly15, agent007, harry_potter22). People will pay attention to it and will be confused (in the best-case scenario). The worst thing is that it could be blocked or marked as spam. Use a working email address for work-related issues and a personal email address (that conveys your name) for other matters.
3. Get to the point.
Email communication is not storytelling. How to write emails that won’t bother an email receiver? Keep them short. Think before you write. What is the main idea of your email? Which result would you like to achieve? Take your time and start writing. Reread your email. Get rid of extra words and vague expressions. They blur the meaning. A short and well-thought email is a win-win situation.
4. Use a structure as a tool.
A good structure makes an email sing. Literally. It means that thoughts are conveyed in a logical order and writing style is clear and to the point. We recommend that you stick to the following structure:
- a professional salutation (Hi/Hello [Name of the email receiver])
- a quick intro (One sentence explaining who you are and why you’re reaching out to the email receiver)
- a body text (The most extended part that includes one or several short paragraphs and contains the main message).
- signature (A corporate template or a personal signature providing more details about you).
5. Stick to a proper tone of voice.
First — keep in mind who you’re sending email to. Second — choose a proper tone of voice. Business emails require a business communication style. Keep them formal and polite. Avoid slang and colloquial language (Hi folks! What’s up? No biggie!). When writing to teammates or friends, you can use a more informal and friendly tone of voice.
6. Attached documents? No way!
A lot of people check emails on the go — just get a cell phone out of pocket and open their email-box. Downloading an attached document is not an option in this case. Not at all. What can you do about it? Embed a hyperlink into a body text that leads to a Google Doc. An email receiver will be able to access your document just in one click. As simple as that.
7. Fix typos.
How to write emails free from mistakes? Use an online spelling checker — there are lots of them online so it’s up to you to choose. But be sure to reread your message afterward as it could play a wicked trick with you.
8. Add the receiver’s email address last.
Yes, you got it perfectly right. This should be a final step to take. It will save you from sending an email accidentally when it’s half-ready. Once you’re sure your email is completely polished, only then you add the receiver’s email address.
9. Cc and Bcc are your friends.
If you’re sending email to multiple people, there are some tips to do it right. If you want all recipients to be visible, put them to Cc (carbon copy) so they’ll receive a copy of your email. If you want them to be hidden, put them to Bcc (blind carbon copy) and they will still receive a copy. Privacy matters.
ACRONYMS IN EMAILS
Acronyms are frequently used in emails. They are abbreviations written with all capital letters (e.g. ASAP, RSVP, EOD). They are widely used because they are short and clear to everyone. Just compare: Please reply as soon as possible vs. Please reply ASAP. Acronyms save your time. Indeed.
Acronyms could be also a stumbling block. It happens when one of them is not familiar to the recipient and can cause confusion. Use acronyms carefully.
20 acronyms commonly used in emails
- EOD — End of Day
- EOW — End of Week
- OOO — Out of Office
- ASAP — As Soon As Possible
- IDK — I Don’t Know
- FYI — For Your Information
- WFH — Working From Home
- LMK — Let Me Know
- IMO — In My Opinion
- BTW — By The Way
- LDL — Let’s Discuss Later
- NNTR — No Need To Reply
- KIT — Keep in Touch
- TYT — Take Your Time
- NTM — Not To Mention
- TLTR — Too Long To Read
- EOM — End of Message
- PRB — Please Reply By
- Y/N — Yes or No?
- HTH — Hope That Helps
If YOU REPLY TO EMAIL
1. Respond within one working day.
It’s one of the key business email etiquette rules. Don’t make people wait. If your answer requires extensive research, notify an email sender about it and tell when you’ll be able to reply.
2. Don’t confuse a sender’s name.
We are all humans and we make mistakes when we’re in a hurry. But being called Ihor instead of Ivan or Alina instead of Alisa is not the most pleasant thing. Have some respect for an email sender and double-check the way you spelled their name.
3. Deal with a negative email as a true professional.
Life is not always rainbows and butterflies. Don’t take negative emails personally. An email sender could have a bad day or it could be any other reason that has nothing to do with you. The way you react in harsh situations defines your inner strength to a great extent. Don’t lose your temper, take a deep breath, and respond professionally.
Now you know how to write emails that work. Keep them well-thought, structured, and mistake-free. You may struggle with it at first but practice makes perfect. Best of luck with mastering this art!
Watch the video on digital etiquette here.
If you want to boost your efficiency, check out this article.