How do you start your business emails? Do you write ‘Dear Sir/Madam’? Or do you cut straight to the chase, with ‘Antoine, we need to talk’?

Traditionally, emails were based on letters, and letter-writing came with a million rules. Nowadays, the playing field has been levelled but there are still matters to consider before you press that ‘Send’ button.

For instance, unless you know your recipient very well, it still makes a better impression to begin with ‘Dear…’. This also helps you to maintain a professional, polite tone even when writing on divisive matters.

Getting the name of your recipient right scores you points from the get-go. Don’t overlook that little detail – it can make or break a deal. Misspell their name and your email might end up in the trash unread.

A quick ‘Hope this email finds you well’ after the greeting often puts the recipient at ease and predisposes them to read the rest of your message positively. On a Friday or Monday, you can refer to the weekend – you will soon find that the majority of people will feel flattered that you made the effort.

Moving to the final part of your email, think about what you want your correspondent to do in response. Should they email you back? Call you? Look into a complex matter? Make an appointment? Make it clear what you expect in return.

Finishing up, a ‘Kindest Regards’ tends to get you everywhere. For more casual emails, you could always write ‘Best’, though as the joke goes, it is never clear whether you mean ‘Best Regards’, ‘Best we don’t speak of this again’, or ‘Best you go away now’.

Finally, if you are expecting to be contacted back but do not have an email signature attached to your name, you can write your phone number below your name. That makes it easier for your recipient to contact you, while simultaneously it places the idea of a phone call in their head if it wasn’t there beforehand.

The above are some tips on email writing that we hope you will find helpful. How do you write emails in English? What has your email-writing experience taught you?


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