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Many newcomers to business field struggle to find their way to write formal e-mails, they pick it up through trial and error, making some misfortunate mistakes throughout the way. Taking the following tips into consideration would save you some time and enhance your skills in writing professional electronic correspondences:
Formality: while writing business e-mails, keep in mind that e-mails could be used as a legal evidence, way of documentation for agreements and/or incidents, or they could be simply forwarded to a third party who doesn’t personally know you! Therefore, writing in formality would always be in your favor. Formal e-mails -in contrary to informal correspondences- requires formal but not dry language, objective content, proper introduction, and sequence control constructions; these factors form a solid and professional e-mail even when sent to a friend as long as it is in a work context.
Last but not least, picking the correct title is highly important. Do whatever it takes to make sure you are using the correct title before sending your e-mail; search previous e-mails, use google or ask your colleagues.
Efficient e-mails: an official e-mail doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple language and direct approach is usually more efficient.
Tools: using bullet points and action plan tables make it easier to be referred to through a second reading. Highlighting time, date and location in bold or different color is an effective tool to deliver your message promptly.
Recipients: How many times did you compose an e-mail wondering who should be on Cc and Bcc ? Cc stands for Carbon Copy while Bcc stands for Blind Carbon Copy.
To put it simply, follow these scenarios to eliminate the confusion; imagine that you have the chance to say what you are composing in a physical meeting and use:
To: the persons you are addressing the topic to.
CC: the persons who are attending or should be attending the meeting and have relevant roles; your direct manager and/or your assistant if they have to follow up the matter, each recipient’s director and/or assistant if they have following up roles as well, colleagues or attendees who had participated in a way or another to this particular subject or they have potential role in the future.
BCC: means that this recipient e-mail address is not going to be shown to other recipients. You may bcc the persons who are involved but don’t want their e-mail to be shared or to be dragged in further correspondences like organization’s CEO. Or for a group of individuals who don’t know each others and you should keep their e-mail addresses confidential; for instance, sending a general e-mail to many clints. On another hand, a wicked sender may use this option to report to certain recipient the subject without addressing him/her directly.
Internal vs. external: sending an internal e-mail may not require a long introduction for the addressed topic or project but sending an e-mail to an external recipient is different and requires a brief introduction on who you are, what role you are playing in the project, and two-lines about why you are contacting him/her. it’s even recommended to explain the organization’s main field or vision.
Many people miss introducing themselves and their topic in first e-mail they sent especially if there was already a phone call; you may start with “According to our earlier conversation,” then rephrase in brief what you had agreed on the phone.
Attachment: must be mentioned with a brief of how it is relevant to your e-mail or what should be done with it, for instance, “find guidlines in the attached file”, “kindly print attached file, fill in and submit to …” or “use attached file to ….”. If there is more than one attached file, you could list them in bullet points.
Signature: must be added in the correct structure with the same exact spelling according to Human Resources Department in your organization; Name, Title, Department, Division (if necessary) and Organization Name followed by Contact Info; Telephone Number, E-mail, Organization Address and website. All info must be in caps first letters. Organization’a logo is preferably to be included.
And that is it; simple, yet fatal to how your emails are received.
Mrs. Al Gamdi is no stranger to this blog; she had contributed to it back in 2012 (Buying Time). Always a pleasure to have her in here, always interesting topics she tackles. – Saad