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8 Ways to Write Better Business Emails

The average office worker sends several emails a day. But do those emails convey a message of professionalism or sloppiness? There are no rules on how to write business emails, but there are 8 ideas.

1) Be Concise.

Say what you mean. Use as few words as possible and be quick to the point. But make sure that you are clear and avoid haiku-like simplicity.

2) Avoid Emoticons.

Emoticons are combinations of letters that look like emotions – like :-( and :-) . They are cute, but cute is not usually associated with professional. While English can be dry at times, and an emoticon add needed context, “You did a terrible job :-) ”, try to keep them from your emails.

And if you do use them, keep the amount under control.

3) Spell things right*!

While you can ignore grammar as long as you sound good, spelling is something you can’t skimp on. Think back to the time an interviewer sent you an email full of words like “great” and “businuss.” Probably didn’t make you think much of their intelligence.

When we send important emails, like one to a prospective new client, we try our hardest to make a good impression. We don’t let spelling mistakes creep into our writing, and we keep the writing both friendly and business-like. Doing so on a daily basis, however, when sending something to a coworker, for example, is a lot harder.

But not doing so may be not so great, and doing so will certainly make you seem like you put effort into what and how you say something. Usually a good thing.

*or is it correctly?

4) Use Appropriate Headings

Start your letter with an appropriate salutation. “Dear,” though it may seem too familiar, works in nearly all occasions. Also important is to end your letters with an appropriate good-bye such as Yours sincerely, or Cordially.

For the ending, you may want to use an automatic signature to save you time and effort. If you do so, make sure to keep it simple and pertinent. Also, if you provide a service yourself, make to sure to provide enough contact information to entice readers. A famous example is hotmail.com, which gave away free email accounts that always had on the bottom of messages a variant on “Get free email from Hotmail!”

Use of Hotmail boomed.

5) Respond Quickly

Sending an email is easy and quick replies are expected. For something important, try to respond within the day, and going two days without replying to something can be offensive.

6) Keep it PG-13 (if not better)

Remember that every email is – in theory – permanent. Unlike conversations, emails do not go away. Saying something risque or inappropriate may come back to haunt you, especially if internal review occurs. If you are angry, write a blistering email – then force yourself to wait a day before sending it. This gives you time to calm down and make sure you don’t say anything you’ll regret. Always err on the side of being composed and professional.

7) Understand the Law

What you promise in an email can legally bind you, and emails can also violate the law. While only a specialist lawyer knows the ins and outs of email law, knowing the basics can only protect you. Don’t ever misrepresent yourself or your company in an email, and avoid spreading copyrighted material. We are not legal experts and recommend that you see this article on email law.

8) Is Email the best way?

Though this article is about email, sometimes email is not the best option. When you send a contract to someone, you clearly would do so on paper, but many other cases aren’t so clear. Thank-you notes mean a lot when they’re in physical form. Being able to hold them and the relative difficulty of regular mail make thank-you notes mean more than just an email.