How to Write a Business Email in English
Writing a business email can be a daunting task, especially if you do not know where to start; and trying to think of what to say and how to say it is enough to drive even the most composed person up the wall. However, it may not be as difficult as you think it is.
A business email is a method of communication that is used primarily to connect the employees and clients of a company. For IT Developers especially, email is essential for keeping them on track and up to date with their projects, clients, and colleagues. Hence, they need to know how to write a business email.
The recommendations in this article have helped people like you improve their email writing skills, so you should consider the following tips when constructing your next business email.
Know the Purpose of Your Email
This is the easiest part because you are not doing any physical work. When you identify to whom your email is directed and what your email wants to accomplish, it is easier to figure out the information you want to include and the tone that you want your email to have. This makes mentally drafting your email that much easier.
Know How to Structure Your Email
The structure of an email is much like writing a letter — with a few tweaks. In an email, you begin with a subject line and end with a farewell. Let us break down the following example to see the different parts of a business email.
The subject line should be short and sweet. It should capture the main point of the email in an interesting and attention-grabbing way. Even at a glance, the recipient should identify that your email is important and worth reading.
Greetings & Salutation
Next, you have your greetings and salutation. Again, keep it short and polite. There is nothing wrong with asking after the welfare of the recipient. This could work to your advantage, as it gives the impression that you are not just interested in business and it adds a personal touch.
The body of the email normally contains two or three paragraphs, although it mostly depends on the focus of the message. Your paragraphs should not be too long. Think three or four lines maximum for each. When you separate the information, your email looks more professional and readable.
Finally, add a short farewell. Knowing how to end an email without sounding abrupt can be tricky, and some phrases are simply overused. You can try thanking the recipient for his/her time and make a promise. You can also encourage the recipient to contact you. All of this depends on the purpose of the email but stick with something pleasant that fosters open communication and continued collaboration. The cherry on top is the final bow of “best regards”, “kind regards”, “best”, or another closing phrase.
Know How to Unsend an Email
Sending an email with formatting and/or spelling errors can be an embarrassing and nightmarish experience. Let us be honest, sometimes we do not see the errors until after we hit “Send.”
If you use Gmail, recalling an email is very easy; you even have up to thirty seconds to do it. Be careful though, you will not be able to recall the email after 30 seconds.
Here is how to unsend an email in Gmail:
Step 1: Open Gmail, and once your inbox loads, go to settings.
Step 2: Select the “See all settings” option.
Step 3: Under the “General” tab, scroll down to “Undo Send.”
Step 4: Select the cancellation period from the drop-down menu.
Step 5: Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Save changes”.
Your Gmail will reload and you will be all set!
Know How to Schedule an Email
IT Developers are busy people and amid their hectic schedules, they have to keep in contact with clients and colleagues. Sometimes they may not have the time to send emails at required times throughout the day and scheduling them is a way to avoid task pile-up. Email scheduling is a way to automatically send an email at a specific time in the future by pre-writing the email and setting the system to send it at a time that you choose.
Here is how to schedule an email in Gmail:
Step 1: Open your browser and go to Gmail.
Step 2: When your inbox loads, click on “Compose”.
Step 3: Write the email as you normally would.
Step 4: Locate the “Send” option at the bottom left of the page, and click on the drop-down arrow to the right.
Step 5: Select “Schedule send”.
Step 6: From the suggested dates and times, click the one you prefer. The email will be automatically scheduled to send at the selected time.
Step 7: If you do not see a preferred option in the previous step, you can enter a custom date and time. Select “Pick date & time” below the suggestions.
Step 8: Choose the date and time that you want to send the email and select “Schedule send”.
Follow English Email Writing Grammar Rules
In English, written communication has very specific rules. When communicating with clients, an IT Developer’s business email must be all-around professional and formal.
Avoid using contractions and/or abbreviations in business correspondence emails. For example, instead of saying “I’m not sure”, “I don’t know”, “I’d attended the meeting”, or “ASAP” — say “I am not sure”, “I do not know”, “I had attended the meeting”, or “as soon as possible”. Additionally, write the complete phrase for general abbreviations. For example, “as soon as possible” instead of “ASAP”.
You might be wondering why you should not use contractions or abbreviations in emails. They are considered informal in English and are normally used in informal speech or in informal forms of writing such as text messages. Using them in a business email lessens the professional tone overall.
Speaking of tone, word choice is also very important. Take a look at these two sentences:
I want to know if you got the chance to look over the document I sent you.
I would like to know if you had an opportunity to review the document that was sent.
This is a perfect example of “it is not what you say, it is how you say it.” Both sentences have the same meaning but the tone of the second one is significantly more professional.
You must pay attention to punctuation as well. Avoid run-on sentences and comma splicing. Use punctuation to your advantage to create impact and interest, invoke thought, and most importantly, inform.
Keep Your Email Concise
In a business email, precision is everything. Your email should get to the point and discuss exactly what is encapsulated in the subject line. Do not ramble. Your colleagues and the company’s clients are busy people and you must respect their time.
Proofread Your Email
The final stage of the process is proofreading your email. Doing this immediately after you write the email is not ideal because you are more prone to missing errors. Why? Because you know what you want to say, so you will automatically read what you think is there.
Here is how to proofread your email effectively.
- If you are not in a rush, leave it and return later with fresh eyes.
- Ask someone to proofread it for you. The person might catch those sneaky errors that you did not notice.
- Read the email aloud.
- Install a proofreading extension in your browser. I recommend Grammarly. You can install Grammarly for Chrome. There is a free version that checks spelling, punctuation, and grammar as you write. If you are in a rush, or a perfectionist like me, this can help you out.
Writing a business email is simple if you put it all together. You have to know the purpose of your email, structure it correctly, follow English grammar rules, proofread it, and be concise. Knowing how to unsend and schedule an email is also a plus.
If you were apprehensive of the idea of putting one together, you no longer have that problem because the tips above will ease your fears and get you on the right track to writing effective business emails.