Do you need to know how to write a business email? The main things you need to remember are to make your ideas clear, to be professional, concise, and courteous.
How to Write a Business Email
The kind of writing you put into a business email is not at all like academic writing. Academic writing has a formal style written in the third person. Business writing is more relaxed and can be written from any viewpoint.
Guide to Writing a Business Email
Here are some things to remember when you need to know how to write a business email:
- Use short and simple sentences of 25 words or less. Your aim is to communicate, not impress with long sentences. Think about what you are trying to say and use as few words as possible to get the idea across.
- Use active voice and not passive voice to give more impact, strength and clarity to your writing. Examples: Passive = "The video should be watched by everyone." Active = "Everyone should watch the video." Active voice uses fewer words and is clearer. Active voice uses action words, like: improved, decided, motivated, reported, examined, organized, designed, solved, initiated, or trained.
- In addition to using the active voice to make your writing strong, you need to avoid certain words that weaken your tone. These words include: probably, would be, and may be. You want to be forceful and direct, not vague.
- Business writing should be primarily about things to do rather that focusing on ideas. Instead of saying, "I think" or "I believe" say, "I recommend." That makes your writing more dynamic.
Now that you have a good idea on how to write a business email, let's look at some things about business email communications that you need to know to write a successful business email.
- Keep your emails short. No one wants a lengthy email, so you need to keep it short and to the point.
- Put a blank line between paragraphs. This is a courtesy on your part because it makes the email easier to read.
- In the body of the email, do not put abbreviations, like LOL, or emoticons. The tone of your email needs to be gender-neutral and not include any offensive remarks or confidential information.
- Go easy on the "capitals," "high priority," and "read receipts." Also avoid words like "urgent" and "important" in the subject line. You don't want to come across as aggressive or annoying.
- Make sure you proofread before sending the email, and look not only for mistakes, but to see if your ideas are well-formed.
- In an email, never copy or attach a message without permission. You might be breaking copyright laws. It's also not a good idea to send a long attachment unless absolutely necessary.
- When you are doing an email mailing, use the BCC field. Everyone on your list may not want everyone else to know their email address. You would be infringing on their privacy. Also, i you put everyone's address in the TO field, then everyone will know the message went to a lot of people.
- Add disclaimers to internal and external communications. This can protect your company from liability.
- Lastly, never ever forward chain letters, especially ones about viruses. Many times, these letters themselves contain viruses.
Replying to a Business Email
When replying to a customer, make sure you answer all their questions and try to anticipate and answer any other questions they may have. Use "reply to all" only when necessary and make sure all recipients should see it. Never reply to spam because that lets them know your address is active.