When you have to write business emails in English, do you ever struggle to write a clear, well-organized e-mail? Do you know how to plan, keep it simple, be polite and choose the correct tone? After reading this article, you will hopefully learn a few tips to help you write emails clearly, and effectively in a business setting. Then, you will be more confident and more professional when sending business emails.
After following the tutorial outlined in this article, and applying them to your emails, your reader will be better able to engage and respond to your email, and most importantly, better understand your ideas.
Business English writing tutorial - Plan the email structure
An effective business email is one that is simple, clear, and well organized. You can order your e-mail by following six simple steps, which will form a solid outline for your business e-mail.
First of all, start with your 1. Subject Line.
This needs to be short and to the point. This is what your reader will see before anything else, so they should know what it is you are contacting them about.
Then you can start with a professional 2. Greeting.
This can be as simple as: “Dear James” if you know who you are writing to, or “To whom it may concern” if you do not know who your reader will be.
Next, we need to state our 3. Purpose or the reason “why” we sent the email.
Do we need to know the price of something? Do we need information on a product? Or do we need to arrange a meeting?
They say that ‘The devil is in the detail’. This is what you need to include next in your email, 4. Details.
What are the specific details our reader needs? This could include times, dates, figures, prices, places, etc. After reading this, your audience will need to know what to do next.
This is where you will write your 5. Call to Action.
This is where you need to tell your reader/audience what to do next. Do they have a deadline? Where do they need to send the information? Who do they need to send it to?
To finish your e-mail, remember to include a formal 6. Sign-off, so your reader knows who it came from.
If you like to study English online, you will find there are many online resources, like business English courses, English newspapers, TV shows, podcasts, etc. Those resources are very great for you to improve your English skills.
Keep your business English writing polite
Now you have your structure, it’s time to think of the language you will use. In a business e-mail, it is crucial to communicate in a polite, and formal way, so many everyday words and phrases we use may not be suitable.
With our Greeting, we should avoid informal phrases like: “Hi John”, and replace them with a formal phrase like “Dear Mr. Shaw”. When discussing our Purpose and Detail, an informal phrase like “Just to let you know”, could be replaced by something like “I would like to inform you that…”. These are small changes, that can make a huge difference in terms of formality.
When it comes to your Call to Action, informal phrases like “you need to” or “can you do x…” should be substituted with phrases like “I would like to politely request you do…” or “If possible, would you be kind enough to do x…”. Finally, when you Sign off, you can include formal phrases like “Kind Regards, Daniel” if you know the reader, or “Yours faithfully” if you do not.
Keep reading and learning some business English phrases, which will help you with your formal English writing.
Determine the tone of the business Emails in English
You now have a clear outline, and formal language/vocabulary to help you write your effective business English. So the last element to be aware of is the tone of your email. Tone refers to the general attitude of your email, which is measured on a spectrum of informal to formal.
Depending on who you are writing to, your tone will vary slightly. For example, if you are writing an email to someone you have never met before, your tone will be very formal. When writing an email you send to your supervisor, it would be slightly less formal, but polite. However, when writing to your colleague in your team, your tone could be a little less formal, and a little less polite, depending on how well you know this person.
As a rule, the less you know someone, the more formal you should be in your e-mail. The more familiar and comfortable you are with someone, then the less formal you should be, but in business, you should always be professional and polite.
Writing effective and clear emails take practice, but the steps above can help you get started. In order to write great business emails, remember to structure your email properly, so that your reader can easily follow your message. Then, make sure to include the right level of formal language, so that your message is professional and effective. Finally, make sure that the correct tone is used, so that you can politely communicate with your audience, even if you do not know them well.
By having a clearly organized e-mail, that is well structured, uses the right language, and contains the right tone, you can start to improve the quality of your business emails and succeed in your goals when using English in business settings. And if you want to do more business English writing practice, you can book my online English courses. I will try my best to make your writing skills better.