Tips for Writing a Clean Email in English
We at Skrivanek don’t know if you struggle to write a good email in English. We perhaps don’t even know you (yet). For you, writing a good email might be simple.
But maybe you are a novice. Maybe, though you have written scores of English emails in your lifetime, you have never trusted, completely, that you are writing them as well as you could be doing. Maybe, through exposure, you have become numb to your previous understanding of what makes a good, clean email. Maybe this vacuum of self-trust bothers you.
Here are some tips on how to ensure your emails turn out how you and your business need them:
- First, before writing:
- Know the context of the email and the message you intend to communicate. It saves a lot of trouble afterwards, and preserves time better spent improving business itself, to plan ahead.
- Make sure the email addresses are written correctly, and that you are sending the email to the people to whom you mean to send it.
- Change your keyboard to English.
- The Heading. Keep it short, direct, and descriptive. The heading can also communicate tone.
- The Greeting invites the recipient into the email. “Dear”; “Dearest”; “My Dear”– these are the warmest. “Greetings”; “Hello”; “Hi”; “Mr./Dr.…” – these communicate all that is necessary in many situations. Avoid “To whom it may concern,”, as it is stale and soulless.
- The email body:
- Should you take the time for niceties, or just say what you mean to say? This depends on the email’s context and the relationship of the persons involved – it cannot hurt, usually, to include a line or two asking “How are you?” and updating the recipient on your most recent relevant happenings.
- Be direct in communicating your reason. Continue to use short sentences – this is not a legal contract!
- Don’t bring unnecessary emotion into the email. If you are angry: pause, be positive, and remember the context of the correspondence, despite yourself.
- Don’t accidentally click Send after writing something ridiculous in the email box.
- Weigh every word – do not rely on strings of phrases. To be concise, you need to deconstruct. Ask yourself: “Am I saying what I mean?”
- In closing the email, be tasteful. Keep it as concise as the rest of the email. Re-acknowledge the brief small-talk from the email’s beginning. This is another area to provide the email with color.
- Keep the sign-off short. Common non-personalized sign-offs include “Best”/ “Best regards” / “Sincerely” / “My best” / “Respectfully”.
- Final Check:
- Use exclamation marks and emojis within reason. One each per email or per paragraph, i.e.
- Say what needs to be said, then think of the email’s proper format. Do you.
- Use spell check! Save errors.
- Read over the email at least once before sending. Catch redundancies and poor wording before they happen.
- Check the email addresses again; if you are forwarding private communication, confirm with the sender before doing so.
- Reply All only when you mean to Reply All.
- Have an English-speaker proofread the email, if you are uncertain of your English writing ability.
Now go for it – take care!