Today, email is one of the most popular channels of communication in informal and formal settings. Emails offer speed, efficiency, and a secure communication channel, and this explains why organizations – both large and small – use it for daily communication. In professional situations, there is a certain format that your email has to follow. An email meant for a friend should be different from a professional email that is an email meant for official purposes.
A professional email could be asking for information about a company, applying for a job, updating your superior on a current project, or even sharing details of an upcoming meeting. Whatever the reason for a professional email is, it should follow this pattern stated below:
- IDENTIFY THE REASON FOR THE MAIL: The first process before writing an official email is to identify your goal; what is the main goal of the mail? What message do you want to pass? What do you want your recipient to do after reading the mail? After identifying this reason, you then have to make sure that everything stated in the mail supports this goal.
- HAVE A DIRECT SUBJECT LINE: When writing a professional email, your subject line is as important as the body of the mail. Why is this so? Your subject line summarizes the email, and it is the first thing the receiver of the mail sees. This could determine if the recipient would open the mail or not.
- KNOW YOUR RECIPIENT: Before you write the first word in the body of the email, take a minute to consider the recipient(s) of the mail. This is necessary because it will determine your choice of words. For example, you are writing a mail to the director of a top firm, someone you have never met. You must keep the email strictly official, avoid cracking jokes, or rambling. Try as much as possible not to make use of informal terms.
- KEEP THE EMAIL CONCISE: This is perhaps one of the most important tricks to writing a professional email; keep it short and straight to the point. Avoid uncommon words. Keep it as simple as possible. Also avoid long, complex sentences. If a message can be passed in 5 words, avoid using more. The goal of your email is to share a piece of information without wasting the time of your recipient who might be too busy. However, do not forget to put in key information.
- INCLUDE A BRIEF SALUTATION: The fact that an email is official does not mean it should be without a salutation. A simple “Hello. I hope this meets you well” is good enough for an official email. Avoid overfamiliarity. In conclusion, you could write “Warm regards” with your name and signature beneath it.
- PROPER PARAGRAPHING: An official email has a subject line, salutation, body, closing, and signature, all of which should be separated with paragraphs.
- PROOFREAD FOR ERRORS: It is natural to make mistakes while writing. Always check your email for grammatical and structural errors before sending it. A simple grammar mistake could make a recipient misinterpret your message.
- ALWAYS FOLLOW UP: As of 2015, Digital Marketing Ramblings reported that the average office worker receives a total of 121 emails daily. This means that your email could go unnoticed by the recipient. If you do not see a reply or acknowledgment in 48 hours, you should send a follow-up email.
In conclusion, to master the art of writing an official email requires practice. Furthermore, your email has to be friendly with an official tone, concise, and clear.