In this article, we will discuss 15 kick-ass tips on how to write an email professionally.
Email is one of the most effective ways of communication, but things can go wrong if not approached with professionalism.
An email written professionally will get the message across, have a better response rate, and be more likely to get you the results you need.
Table of Contents
- How to write an email professionally
- 1. Be concise
- 2. Use correct grammar and language
- 3. Use a professional tone in your email content
- 4. Include relevant email attachment
- 5. Do not forget your email attachment!
- 6. Introduce yourself properly
- 7. Include your signature at the end of the email
- 8. Use a formal/professional greeting in your email
- 9. State the purpose of your email clearly
- 10. Avoid using emoticons and unprofessional abbreviations
- 11. Do not leave the email subject field empty
- 12. DON’T USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!
- 13. When replying to emails, go straight to the answer
- 14. When making a request, be specific about what is expected from the email recipient
- 15. Proofread your email for errors
- Concluding remark
How to write an email professionally
OK, without further ado, let’s go through the 15 tips in writing a professional email.
1. Be concise
In today’s world, people receive hundreds of emails every day. Because of this, they don’t really have time or patience to read lengthy email content.
Therefore, when writing a professional email, remember to keep the email concise. Short and sweet.
You have to be very efficient when it comes to what you want to say and how you will say it. Keep sentences short and direct with proper punctuation for maximum effect.
2. Use correct grammar and language
Your email should be squeaky clean with no obvious grammar or language errors that will hinder the recipient from understanding the message you want to convey.
Remember, you need to use the appropriate language for your email.
For example, suppose it is a formal business letter. In that case, it should be written with proper grammar and punctuation. In contrast, an informal email can get away with less of that (although still try).
Your emails should always read as though they were typed out by a professional writer who cares about their craft. This means no typos or grammatical errors!
You may think that your recipients don’t care about these details—but they do! A poorly written email reflects badly on you and makes them question whether they want to continue dealing with the “unprofessional.”
3. Use a professional tone in your email content
A professional email requires a professional tone. Your email should reflect you as a professional and a person who is worth doing business with.
Remember to use a professional tone in your email; avoid colloquialisms, slang words and contractions.
This nonetheless doesn’t mean you should write like an academic essay—you can still be casual while keeping the overall content respected and classy.
Use an email tone that portrays someone who is educated, smart and well-spoken, yet approachable.
If you write an email reply to someone who complained about your organization’s service, put some empathy in your email reply.
4. Include relevant email attachment
Some emails require you to include attachments: the latest quarterly financial report, the slides you presented this morning, your CV or resume, receipts and many other documentations.
Ensure that all relevant attachments are provided alongside your email content.
Keep in mind that the number of attachments should not be too many. Stick to between one and three.
If you need to include more attachments in your email, you should zip the files into a single file.
5. Do not forget your email attachment!
This is actually one of the email bloopers that I did quite a lot during my early years of email practice. That’s totally not how to write an email professionally!
At some point in time, my boss would tease me by replying, “As usual, you forgot your email attachment.”
Therefore, make sure when you write “I enclose in this email…,” the attachment file is actually there.
Luckily, many email platforms today can detect possible missing attachments. The email system will see the word “attachment” or related in your email content and alert you the necessary.
Good thing. This will save us from embarrassment.
6. Introduce yourself properly
If this is the first time, you are reaching out to the recipient, introduce yourself briefly. Include your full name, position and your present role in your organization.
If you have connected before, indicate that you are not totally a stranger to the recipient.
Perhaps, the two of you have met at the recent book fair in Frankfurt, Germany. Or maybe you have been acquainted via social media platforms before.
7. Include your signature at the end of the email
Be sure to include a signature at the end of each email with your name, company name, position title and contact information (phone number(s), address).
Some organizations have their own practice and style for email signature. Ensure that you comply with your organization’s email signature practice.
Remember that the signature should not be more than a few lines long—if it is, you need to condense your sentence by removing unnecessary words.
8. Use a formal/professional greeting in your email
Use formal greeting in addressing your recipient.
Different countries may have different email cultures; some will address the first name and others the surname.
Follow the prevailing culture.
Ensure that the salutation reflects the accurate title of the recipient, too, especially if this is the first time you are emailing the recipient. Believe it or not, some email readers get offended with incorrect or absence of proper salutation.
9. State the purpose of your email clearly
The purpose of your email needs to be stated clearly.
Are you: asking for an appointment, applying for an internship, responding to a complaint, acknowledging an action, expressing anger (hopefully not) or something else?
Perhaps, you want to put in writing some of the important points in your discussion yesterday (since we all forget, so it is better to have some piece of evidence).
10. Avoid using emoticons and unprofessional abbreviations
Avoid using fancy emoticons in professional emails unless you are dealing with a regular colleague or have reached a more casual relationship with the recipient.
If you do feel the need to use these, wait until the email exchanges become more regular.
11. Do not leave the email subject field empty
An email subject with no subject line can be annoying. But you will be surprised how many people are guilty of doing this.
In fact, an email subject is crucial that this tip should sit on top of the list of how to write an email professionally.
People may mistake emails with an empty subject for spam and subsequently delete them.
If you do not want your emails (and the valuable content) to get deleted, give your email a proper subject line. Be specific enough that the recipient will know what the email is about just by reading it.
12. DON’T USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!
An important email etiquette: Do not use all capital letters in your sentences!
This sounds like a no-brainer, but a lot of people are using this somewhat inadvertently. What were they thinking?
Using all capital letters is considered shouting in writing.
Using all capital letters can be construed as shouting or saying things in anger. Some people equate capital letters with rudeness.
So, keep this in mind when thinking about professional emails.
13. When replying to emails, go straight to the answer
When people write you an email with a question, they expect an answer.
Go straight to this part: address the question and provide the solution in your email reply.
Do not waffle in your response because you want to add more information.
14. When making a request, be specific about what is expected from the email recipient
When asking for something through email, ensure that you state what is expected in the email clearly.
Use simple language that can be understood clearly without the recipient needing to read again and again.
When you request something from someone, think carefully about your words and be as specific as possible. It will look better and give an impression that you have really thought this through—which may impress the recipient!
15. Proofread your email for errors
Finally, proofread and check your emails for errors before you click that Send button.
Even professional writers make email writing errors.
Check for language errors, tone, name accuracy and most importantly, verify that the message is what you actually intended.
Spelling and grammatical errors can make you look unprofessional (even if you are a professional).
People may not be able to tell that English is your second language or any other reason why there might be some mistakes (read 30 tips how to improve your English writing when English is not your first language). They will only see the many spelling and grammar errors. Don’t let this happen!
There you go. I hope you are happy with this list of 15 tips on how to write an email professionally. But, more importantly, a few will be of fantastic use to you!
Creating and maintaining a professional image may take some time and require practice. However, the most important thing is to put the knowledge and tips into practical learning.
Do you have any other tips on how we can write an email professionally? Drop a line if you have one. Thank you for reading.
Meanwhile, head here to see 33 power words that you can use in your email to add a boost to your professionalism.