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THE PARTS OF SPEECH [ ? ]
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How to Write a Better Business E-Mail
by Brian Konradt

How to Write a Better Business E-MailThe Internet has changed a lot of things within the business world, including business correspondence. Where once traditional, formal business letters were normal, quick business emails now rule the day. The ease and informality of the Internet often makes it seem we can write business e-mails poorly and get away with it; yet, it’s actually the contrary. Because email is so accessible, people receive that much more of it and disregard anything less than perfect. Your business email must stand out from the junk. The following tips will help you create concise, engaging business emails for any purpose.

STYLE

The human eye reacts differently to a computer screen than a piece of paper, so how you format your email is vital. Use short, succinct sentences that get to the point immediately; remember, your goal here is to dispense important information, so give that to the reader right up front. Always include a greeting and a signature, and use as many line and paragraph breaks as possible; this makes the email easier to read. And resist the urge to write a book. Business emails are better off short; the equivalent of a page or so is sufficient.

TONE

For better or worse, the Internet breeds a nasty habit of informality. It’s okay to be slightly informal with your email (people tend to expect it lately), but don’t write as if you’re talking to your mother or best friend. You need to strike a balance between traditional formality and e-mail informality. Think about your recipient and how they’d most likely write an email. What words would they use? Would slang or jargon offend your readers? Use these considerations to create a concise, customized email.

GRAMMAR

Informality, whatever its root, does not excuse grammatical errors, and these can damage your email. Grammatical errors show that you didn’t put much time into your business email and you probably don’t care much about your message. Go through your email carefully to make sure you have spelled correctly, and you have fixed all grammar and punctuation mistakes. Remove all redundancies and get rid of any clichés. Recipients, especially professional business people, will appreciate your attention to details and they will respond better to your message when no errors exist in your email.

RESPONSE

Since email is an immediate medium, and a highly accessible one at that, it’s far easier than in paper letters to request a response -- and far more likely that you’ll get one! Before signing off with your signature, be clear about what you want the recipient to do. Need a response via phone or with certain information attached? Say so! Your recipient will have a difficult time responding if they have no idea what you want from them. But remember: be polite when requesting action. There’s little worse than an overly forward or pushy ending.

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