Writing professional emails is one of the integral parts of a professional career. And knowing how to write a professional email is what sets you apart from others in your profession.
There are etiquettes to writing a professional email. From how to put on a charming subject header to closing an email with appropriate remarks.
An email has its format. And a professional email more or so follows a similar format.
Break down of a proper email formatting
The subject line is the first part of your email that your reader will see. So it should not be misleading because the reader may move it to the spam folder.
The subject should summarise the goal of your communication. A subject line should be short and specific. Your email must have a subject line because that way it will be easier to locate it when needed.
Salutation is always used in a professional email. This is where you greet the reader.
Example: “Hi, Mr. Dixit” and “Dear Students”
Greetings vary depending on who is at the receiving end of your email. It could be one person or it could an entire class of 50 pupils.
The body of a professional email contains the main message. The body text of an email should include an introduction and conclusion written in short paragraphs. Use proper grammar and complete sentences.
A body text elaborates on the purpose of an email. You must write here with precision and clarity. Also, make sure that your message will be conveyed without any misunderstanding.
Closing in a professional email is equally important. This is also where you can repeat a few things from the body text for emphasis.
You wrap up your email here. So do make sure you end things on a positive note.
The signature is what reminds your reader of your identity - your name, titles, contact, and other relevant information about you. Always opt for a professional signature.
You can also find email programs that will allow you to set your signature and automatically add it to every email you send.
Steps for writing a professional email
Address your email
The To section of an email is where you type in the email address of your recipient. Here, you include the audience whom your message directly affects. The To field can be used for as many addresses as you would like.
Similarly, in the CC field, you can add as many recipients as you would want. CC stands for carbon copy. When CC is used, all the recipients can see the list of addresses who have received the same email as them.
On the other hand, when BCC, which stands for blind carbon copy, is used, the recipients won't be able to see the others who have been sent the same copy of an email.
Keep the subject simple
Use as few words as possible in your subject header. Keep it short and accurate. The subject line should be direct and based on that your recipient should be able to tell what the email is about.
If there is an urgency or a response is needed by a certain time then that should be covered on the subject line.
If it's a thank you email then you can just type in “thank you” as the subject. Or try things such as: “Marketing Team Meeting Update”, “Writers Room Renovation Details” and so on depending on the scenario.
A subject line is all about precisely conveying the purpose of your email in a few words.
Open with a greeting
Always open your email with a formal greeting while writing a professional email like Dear Mr. Sharma. If the relationship is more casual, you can simply say Hi (Name).
If you do not know the name of the person you are writing to then you can simply use “To whom it may concern” or “Dear sir/madam/gentleperson”.
In case the recipients are a group of people then you can address them with “Hi/Hello Everyone” or “Dear All”.
Do not stress complicating something as simple as a greeting. It mostly depends on your relationship with the recipient too. Do make sure to keep it professional.
Thank the recipient if you are replying
Your email should start with a line of thank you if you are responding to a client’s inquiry. For instance, if someone had reached out with a question about your company, you could say something along the line of “thank you for contacting XYZ Company.”
If someone has replied to one of your emails, you need to say “thank you for your prompt reply” or “thank you for getting back to me/us.” It will make you appear polite and considerate and puts your reader at ease.
State your purpose
Now you can state the reason for your email. People don't prefer to read long emails to find the intention behind an email. So it is better and less time consuming if you would just state the purpose of your email at the beginning.
Before writing what the email is in regards to, take some time to think about what you are trying to convey and why your recipient needs to see it.
Stating your purpose is an important step in writing a professional email. This is where you expand on more than what your subject line said. You can start by writing what your email is about.
Or you could write “I am writing to inquire about …” if that is the purpose of your email. Or, you can begin it with “I am writing to inform you that …” if you are writing to inform them about something.
The words and phrases you use to initiate your purpose depend on the purpose of the email itself. You just have to make sure to come across as clear and professional.
The Body text
The body text of an email shouldn't be lengthy. This is because they might skip it or not read at all if your email is too long.
Talking about one agenda or project should suffice for one professional email. In case you need to write about more than one project then opt for composing another email.
Body texts of a professional email can be broken down into paragraphs consisting of no longer than two to three sentences. You can use bullet points when necessary.
At times, when writing about certain subjects it might require a longer email. In such cases, it would be better to use the email to set up a meeting.
That way the details on the subject can be discussed without any restrictions in person.
Call to Action
If you are writing an email to ask someone to complete a certain task then mention the call to action near the end.
Be specific and leave no room for confusion while including the call to action. Explain the task responsibility in detail and specify the timeline as well.
Even if you are sending out a mass email you could directly name the intended person. That way it saves time and misinterpretation for everyone.
A good example of a clarifying call to action would be
“Shruti, Can you forward the documents to IT staff only before 10 AM tomorrow, please?”
Based on situations, you can frame a call to action to be either a statement or a question.
Add closing remarks
As you are wrapping up your professional email, end it by making things that need to happen next clear. Don't forget to thank your reader and end it with a formal goodbye.
These are sentences you can use as a closing remark.
"Thank you for your patience.”
“Thank you for your consideration.”
“Don't hesitate to write us back if you have any concerns”
“I look forward to hearing from you.”
Then a professional email can be ended with a proper closing before your name, such as “Sincerely” or “Best/Warm/Kind Regards”
In many cases, an email is likely to be the beginning of many conversations to be followed. So adding closing remarks should be sort of like a guide to where the conversation is heading next.
A professional email should be inclusive of the following:
Your job title.
A link to your website.
Links to social media accounts (optional).
Do not miss out on this while you sign off an email.
An example of a formal email closing:
Executive Director, ABC Company Pvt. Ltd.
(Email address goes here)
(Phone number goes here)
Attachments and Links
Always name the file that you are going to attach in a professional email. It would be very unprofessional otherwise. Make sure the files can be easily identified.
Don't forget to double-check the attachments and link to check you have got the correct ones.
Also, hyperlinks can be distracting and lengthy in email texts so integrate the hyperlink into an existing sentence.
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Use proper etiquette
Writing professional emails requires following certain etiquettes. They are simple protocols when abided by can result in well-polished formal emails.
Some of the emails etiquette rules you need to follow:
Do not get carried away and put too many exclamation points.
Leave humor out of a professional email unless you know the recipient very well.
It's good to add an email address, at last, to avoid sending the email before completing it.
Always use a standard font in a professional email. Keep it classy.
Read your message out loud to see if your email sounds mean spirited.
Use carbon copy and blind carbon copy appropriately.
Do not leave the subject line blank.
Use professional salutations and email addresses.
Always keep in mind that people from different walks of life speak and write differently.
Don't write anything hurtful or something confidential that you wouldn't want everyone to see.
Proofread your email
Once you have completed writing an email, do not hit send before proofreading. A professional email should not have any grammatical errors and typos.
Give a thorough read to your email to see if there are any errors or something that can be changed for the better.
There are plenty of tools online where you can check your grammar. Avoid using stylish fonts and stick to one color for email texts.
Do make sure you are trying to convey the message professionally.
Remember to follow up
Due to the heavy exchange of emails, it might be possible that sometimes people forget to respond to your email.
And there is no harm in reaching out with a friendly follow-up email in case the recipient hasn't responded to you after two to three business days.
Knowing the tone and audience of an email
One of the most important factors that set apart a professional email is its tone. And finding the correct neutral tone while writing an email can be stressful.
A tone ranges from formal to friendly depending on your recipient. But the focus here should be to keep it professional. The tone of your message that you are trying to convey in an email needs to match with your reader.
If you are composing an email for a business manager or someone whom you have never met then keep the language professional and out of any jokes.
But if the recipient is your colleague or a friend with whom you share a good relationship with, then you can be less formal and adopt a friendlier approach.
Emails are a critical part of business communication. So, it's mandatory to keep things right by simply following the guidelines.
The email you write represents you, your company, and the community. Thus, they need to be professional as they can leave a lasting impression on recipients.
Hope you can ensure professionalism confidently on professional emails you will be writing on days forward!
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