Knowing how to compose a business email is important. As a business professional writing emails is part of your day to day communication. When you’re emailing someone or responding to someone that’s native is English you’re going to need to know how to write a professional email in English. The same goes with people who aren’t natively English but use English because it is the only language they speak in common.

An email is a great communication tool and when created correctly can have positive effects in your professional and business life. Knowing how to write perfect professional English in 10 steps will make using this communication tool easier.

Step 1: Create A Subject Line

When someone receives an email from you the first thing they’ll see is your subject line. It’s a brief statement that gives them insight into what the email will be about. Your subject lines shouldn’t be too friendly, irrelevant or too long. It’s also important that you create a subject to avoid your email ending in the spam section. If you’re responding to an email a subject line won’t be necessary as the original subject line will remain.

Step 2: Open With A Professional Greeting

You want a polite opening. “Hey” or “Hi” are not professional greetings. Anything you would use with a friend or in a friendly setting is not going to be professional. You can use “Good Day” “Hello” or “Greetings” instead. If you know the name of the recipient always follow a greeting with it. However, if you’re not aware of the recipients name leave it out instead of using a generic term like “friend”.

Depending on the setting you can also use the persons job title if you’re applying for a job. You can also use something like “To whom it may concern” if you’re not entirely sure who will be receiving it or who should be receiving the email.

Step 3: Give The Reason For Your Email

Knowing how to start an email conversation is something not many non-native English speakers understand. So, before you continue creating your email, start it with an opening line that details what your email is about. Just like the subject, this line can be brief and allows the recipient to get a better understanding of why you’re emailing them. Something as simple as introducing yourself and stating your reason for emailing is perfect for the opening line.

Step 4: Be Polite

Non-native English speakers may often sound abrupt or even rude to natives. The opposite is also true, you could sound overly friendly. What you should aim for is sounding polite, using the manners you would in daily life. Words like “please”, “thank you” or even “you’re welcome” go a long way in the business world. When you’re writing the email you should use business terms that would be appropriate in a business setting. You want to be grateful, but you don’t want to sound over-friendly or servile so keep your thank you’s to the beginning of your email and the end. Another essential tip is to avoid make demands, ask and enquire instead of commanding someone to do something.

Step 5: Never Use Capital Letters Throughout Your Email

Writing an entire email in CAPSLOCK should always be avoided it’s the easiest way to make anyone think you’re being rude or disrespectful as capital letters indicate that you’re yelling. This will upset most recipients. You should also avoid using words like urgent or must read, even please read can sound forceful and be very off-putting.

Step 6: Use The Correct Spelling and Grammar

A professional email should be just that, professional. So, it goes without saying that every email you send should have the correct spelling and grammar. Incorrect grammar and spelling will make those receiving the email think you’re unprofessional and sloppy. Even if English is not your first language, the person reading it would probably be unaware of this fact.

Step 7: Keep It Short

Your recipients time is precious, be courteous by keeping it short. Avoid being too wordy with your emails. You don’t need to do more than greet, introduce yourself, give the reason for your email, elaborate and sign off. It may seem professional to write 200 or more words, especially if you’re writing a sales email or a difficult subject matter but it can be very annoying to the person reading it. The proper email format is generally short and easy to read and navigate. You should also give the necessary information a recipient needs to reply, keeping it short can also help you get a prompt reply.

Step 8: End With A Professional Email Signature

The way you close your emails is important too. Especially in a professional email. There are different ways to end an email but these methods are the best for a business email. Always sign off with your first name and surname, if you’re comfortable using this method. Alternatively just use your first name and the initial of your last name. If you have a job title include it in the email, it gives your email credibility. Another thing you can include in a professional email is your contact information like a telephone number and your companies website URL or even your actual signature. Using words and phrases like “Best wishes”, “Kind Regards”, “Regards” and “Sincerely” are the best ways to end your email.

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Step 9: Use Words You Know and Understand

How can you be sure you’re using the correct grammar and spelling? It’s simple. Only use English words you know and understand. Don’t use long, complicated words or phrases or even idioms. Yes, those fluent in English would probably use these types of words or phrases but, using a word in the wrong context or even misspelling it can make you look unprofessional and unaware and can make doing business with you difficult for the person who receives your email. A simple email shouldn’t be avoided just because you want to seem learned or informed. Keep things simple and you’ll notice how miscommunication and misunderstandings decrease.

Step 10: Proofread Your Message and Spell Check It Before Sending

Before you click send read your message to see if it makes sense and follows all the steps mentioned in this blog post. This is also a great time to perform a spell check. Names, places and industry jargon can be ignored but any other word that is underlined should be changed. Once you’ve completed a spell check read your work again to see that you’ve structured your sentences properly and that everything makes sense.

Additional Tips To Create A Formal Email

These additional tips will improve your mail writing when drafting a business email.

1. Never Send An Email When You’re Upset

Business professionals need to be polite. And it’s common knowledge that when you’re angered and upset you won’t be very polite. Even if the person in the email didn’t upset you, responding to an email while you’re upset can change the overall tone of the email.

2. Reread Any Emails Before You Respond

This is a tip you should always practice as it will help you type a proper email response. Read the email you’re responding to at least three times or more. This way you know that you completely understand what is being said, and as such you can draft your own email in a manner that responds to every question, query or complaint in the original email.

3. Buy an English Translate Dictionary

Those who are still learning English frequently remember the words being used in the email in their own language. Having a dictionary that translates the words you’re searching for into English and vice versa is perfect, that way you know you’re always using the right word. If someone is sending you an email you can also use the dictionary to find out what the word means or is in your own language.

4. Never Use Slang

Acronyms like TTYL (talk to you later) for example and slang are absolute no-nos and should be avoided in any professional context. Because people are constantly texting and using communication apps this may make its way into an email. When you’re proofreading be sure to remove and replace the slang or acronyms. You can also text your messages in full, so you don’t have to remember to avoid it during a professional email.

Writing the perfect professional email will only be accomplished if you continue to write and practice creating formal emails. You should also pay close attention to how people respond to  your emails to get a better understanding of the tone of the email. Some business professionals often are casual in an email and if you’re responding to an email that is more casual in nature you can be casual as well. The downside to this is that as communication continues and progresses you may find yourself in a difficult position if you’re trying to complete a project or specify urgency.

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