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Writing a business email

Email is the most common form of written communication in the business world. Although emails are often seen as less formal than business letters, they still need to be professional in tone and structure, and are quite different from the casual messages you send to friends and family. However, business emails are not just letters sent via a computer – they have a style of their own which it is important to understand.

Length of a business email

One of the most important things to remember when emailing business colleagues is to be concise. Many professionals receive a multitude of emails throughout the day and often don’t have the time to read thoroughly each piece of correspondence. Because the recipient may have to evaluate which incoming messages have the greatest priority, choose the contents of the subject line carefully and use it to give a clear summary of the email’s purpose.

Email signatures

Email messages being sent outside of the company should end with a closing signature that includes the sender’s full name and business affiliation. Most email programs provide an option whereby a closing signature may be created and automatically appended to all outgoing messages.

Reply vs new message

It is good business practice to use the ‘reply’ option to an existing message rather than opening a ‘new message’ page. The ‘reply’ gives the recipient a link, commonly called a thread, to the original message, and a path to follow if several replies to one message pile up. Or, if the incoming message is lengthy and only certain items require a response, the sender can copy only those relevant parts and paste them into a ‘new message’, then key in the appropriate responses.

 

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