Most of us have become lost in a world of informal communication. They don’t know how to write a professional e-mail. It has become a challenge to find words that are the foundations of a professional e-mail. Considering that an average person receives an average of 50 texts daily, it’s safe to say that many are caught up in “jks” and “lol” of today’s communication.
But part of the practical communication side is mastering the skills of professional e-mail writing. Whether your profession requires you to work hands-on with people, experiments and programs, professionals still need to communicate and more so using written communication.
One advantage of using e-mail messages is instant communication, which comes at a high cost. Incorrect grammar, misspelling, abbreviations, and acronyms like “U” instead of you depict some of the unprofessional images associated with e-mail. Scrolling around the thousands of e-mails to undo a sent message shouldn’t be your future if you learn the basics of writing professional e-mails.
You must remember that whenever you communicate with your professor, faculty members, coworkers or ask about potential job connections, you must maintain professionalism in all your communication. So take a few minutes and go through this blog to learn a few tips so that next time you want to write a professional e-mail, you can do it without looking unprofessional. Let’s dive in!
How do I write a professional e-mail?
As we’ve briefly discussed above, e-mail has become a widespread form of communication at the workplace, school, and even socially. A well-crafted e-mail aims to provide the recipient with a clear and concise message.
But how do you know the appropriate time for writing an e-mail and the best form of communication to accomplish your communication goals?
When do you Use an E-mail?
An e-mail is an appropriate form of communication to bet your message across when:
- Communicating with someone hard to reach via phone, don’t meet regularly or the person is located in another different time zones
- The information you are about to share is not urgent or time-sensitive. While the act of sending an e-mail is instant, the reader might not receive it on time, and you might not get an instant message, and your recipient may take a few days before you get a response.
- Sending an electronic file like a PDF, images, or word documents, among others
- Distributing information to a large group of people
- Keeping a written record of communication by saving an important e-mail
When is an e-mail inappropriate?
An e-mail is not effective means of communicating when:
- Communicating a long and complex message that may require additional discussions that would require face-to-face communication
- The information is highly confidential since e-mails are NEVER private, and your message may be forwarded to other recipients without your consent. Besides, backup copies of e-mails you send are stored on the server. An interested party can constantly retrieve them anytime, even if you deleted your message and think it has gone forever.
- The message is emotive since your message may be misunderstood. Basically, if you would hesitate to say something face-to-face, don’t write them an e-mail.
How to write an Effective Professional E-mail
If you’re looking for tips to write a professional e-mail, employ these tips to craft an effective mail.
Tip #1: Select appropriate subject line and make it count
An effective trick is to develop a subject line once you are done writing your e-mail. Besides, the subject line should be brief, sweet, and direct to the point, but also ensure that’s it formal.
You should always see the subject line as the title of your paper. Therefore, you always capitalize each word besides summarizing the critical reason for writing up your e-mail.
Since the subject line is the first thing your recipient sees, it should make the correct impressions and not mislead the reader. Therefore, a compelling subject line set’s the tone for the remainder of your e-mail. Despite the tone you prefer to use, the key is staying professional.
Tip #2: Ensure you address who you’re e-mail and say hello
Be sure you address your recipient using their titles like Mrs., Ms., Mr., Dr., etc., or say hello and add their name.
Avoid using terms like “hi” or “hey” because this is not an ordinary text sent to a dear friend. In refraining from such words, you’re taking your reputation seriously. So ensure that you intend to send your recipient the e-mail directly.
Tip #3: Address the recipient in the correct manner
If you’re in fields like medical, you must address the recipient of the e-mail correctly. If the recipient is a doctor, the address them as Dr. When you’re not sure whether a person is married or not and is a female, then you can write Ms. In case you don’t know the recipient title’s conduct a quick search on the company or school website to get an answer.
Tip #4: Use a proper and formal tone
Again, this is not a text to your mere friend, but it’s a formal communication. Your role is to write in a professional tone.
Think about your audience before you start writing the e-mail. For instance, if you’re writing to your boss or professor, ensure that your e-mail is as formal as possible.
Tip #5: Sign up with your name (first and last in that order)
Simply write sincerely or just put in your name and title. One famous sign-off that you can adopt for e-mail sign-off is using the term “Best.”
But this is not all. Given that there are many signing-off ways, it can be hard to decipher which sign-off you should use. The trick here, though to look at your scenario and make decisions for which best suits your context.
But the best way to ensure that your e-mail has an appropriate sign-off is choosing a generic but professional sign of, say “Best’ and then setting it on automatic mode. Anytime you send an e-mail, this sign-off will appear on your recipient’s side.
Tip #6: Always check for typos and grammatical errors before you click send
Once you have crafted your e-mail, ensure you reread it and ensure that it’s free of grammatical or typos errors.
Note that first impression matters, and it can’t be undone with a click of but as an e-mail can be. You don’t have to depend on the spellcheckers, and that’s why you need to read between the lines to ensure you’ve used proper English that is free of abbreviations.
Another essential trick when writing an e-mail is eliminating exclamation points and capitalization because these can make it feel like you are shouting or, to an extent, upset over an issue.
Finally, check for run-on sentences and remember that you want your e-mail to look like you’re writing an academic paper.
Tip #7: If you’re angry, don’t send the e-mail yet
When reviewing your e-mail, eliminate all statements that may appear angry and look out for phrases or sentences in ALL CAPS. Save the e-mail as a draft and wait until you cool down before sending it.
Once you calm down, go back and check your e-mail and edit all the content that might appear as anger but instead aim at ensuring you reflect your calm state. There might be things you typed out of anger, and you don’t want your recipient getting them.
Tip #8: Maintain professionalism in further communication
You’ve already sent out an e-mail and have now received a response. This is not the time gets lower your professional guard down.
You need to continue communicating professionally. Suppose you’re tempted to add some personal flair to an e-mail. In that case, it’s alright but again, do so professionally to avoid putting your professionalism in jeopardy.
To continue addressing the recipient of the e-mail in your correspondence. Just ensure that your writing is consistent. Start by saying “Thank you for getting back to me” or “thank you for your e-mail
E-mail etiquette for students
E-mail etiquette means maintaining a respectful, appropriate, and professional tone when writing an e-mail. Some of the tips shared above in this blog represent etiquettes, including addressing the recipient, using correct speckling, and identifying yourself and your need clearly and succinctly.
If you’re a student and communicating with your professors, these skills are crucial to E-mail etiquette for students. Below are a few tips that can get you started on a great path so that you can maintain professionalism when communicating.
Where to start
- First, you need to decide whether or not the question, comment, concern you are about to make can quickly be answered over an e-mail. If that is not the case, speak with your professor after a class or during office hours.
- Strictly use an e-mail address with a professional address. That’s why most institutions of higher learning ask you to create a professional student e-mail upon enrolment. Instead of using an e-mail address like email@example.com, use a professional address that can look like firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Next, you need to include a clear, specific, and brief subject line. For easier recognition by your professor, you want to include the course code and the purpose of the mail. For instance, if it’s a biological class, then your course code should be something like “BIOL 245 Exam Question.”
- Once you’ve written your subject line, then you should proceed to address the recipient of your e-mail, who is your professor. Here you can say Professor Preston or Dr. Vivian.
- Next up, you need to introduce yourself, and you must include Your full name, the class you’re enrolled in, and the time and section of the class you attended.
To write an e-mail to your professor, ensure the following;
- Start ends the e-mail using professional salutations like; good morning or good afternoon, Best, Sincerely, thanks among many other ways of professionally closing your e-mail.
- Another important thing is ensuring that you use grammar, spelling, and punctuation throughout the e-mail. That’s why you need to reread, pass it through spell checkers, and consider reading the e-mail out loudly before you even send it out.
- Use a professional tone only—avoid using an angry tone. Instead, be positive, respectful, or constructive, calm to mention a few tones that you can approach your work with. Ensure you understand our emotional state before sending in the e-mail
- Refrain from using text language like “lol,” internet slang like “totes” or facepalm, emojis, and other distracting fonts which may cast you as being unprofessional
- Edit and proofread your e-mail before you send it for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors which can make you seem unprofessional
- Bear in mind that your professor is also a person who has a busy schedule. Understand this and respect their time and consideration. So, you can e-mail them in advance and use office hours. Also, you need to e-mail give your professor at least 24 hours before you send additional e-mails.
Essential Rules for E-mail Etiquette
Be an urbane and practical user of e-mail by following and considering some of these essential rules.
1. Start by deciding if e-mail is the best form of correspondence
Consider whether a letter, memo, phone call, or face-to-face meeting is a better choice than e-mail. Don’t feel obliged to make trivial e-mail responses, and in many cases, you don’t need to reply at all. So choose the best, most efficient mode of communication for the circumstances.
2. Use the short but definitive subject line.
Subject lines are valuable and indisputable since they appear next to the sender’s name. Don’t use cryptic little teasers in your subject line like “Yoh! Check this out!!!” to grab your reader’s attention because it is always a bad practice and may lead to your e-mail being blocked as spam or end up being trashed by the user.
Instead, use concrete, respectful and informative subject lines like (“Medical student requests your input”). Bear in mind that an e-mail message is a permanent record, and your recipient may decide whether to file your message for future use, and that’s why you need to choose to word accordingly.
3. Follow the principles of effective paragraph writing
Professional e-mail must follow the standards for fair sentencing and paragraph. Use complete sentences and include verbs and transitional words at the start of pivotal sentences and paragraphs.
4. Use the top-down technique to focus your e-mail.
To write an effective e-mail, use the top-down technique followed by newspaper articles known as “writing from the top down,” You put information at the top of the message so that the recipient won’t miss them.
Note that most users will decide whether to continue reading the opening statements, so you need to survive these snap decisions. Use the opening statements as a quick summary of the critical message while sticking to a single subject throughout.
If there’s a question you are answering, make it part of the purpose statement and place it in the opening paragraph, and then use the rest of the paragraph to flesh out your reasoning.
If you’re discussing multiple issues, use multiple mailings and use individual subject lines or alternatively use a table of contents and sections heads as this facilitates effective browsing.
5. Where necessary, use a narrative greeting to specific your identity and affiliation.
Don’t rely on your e-mail address or signature at the bottom of the document as the only indicators of your affiliation and identity because your recipient may not immediately recognize you. Thus, use a short paragraph as narrative greetings to specify affiliation and identity and echo your subject line.
6. Answer only what is needed
E-mail software includes a response feature that copies your message over into a new message box for you and fills out the “From,” “To,” and “Subject” line. When responding to a single question that was asked amidst a lengthy paragraph, delete everything else so that your message is efficient and the context is clear.
7. Know how to handle e-mail text files attachments
One of the common problems people encounter with e-mail is attachment because of the risk of potential virus transfer. But attachment is essential since they help retain the appearance of an original file, among them the format and the unique characters. At the same time, they can be immediately transferred for free. If there are any ambiguities, the best thing is to let your recipient know that the nature of the attachment—like the software used to create it.
8. Cite sources accurately and quote individuals faithfully
The professional e-mail also needs accurate quotes accompanied by citations, especially when quoting your sender.
Even if you need to cite a source, like in academic writing, provide the bibliographic information so that your
reader may track the source if necessary. To do so, you copy and paste the sender’s exact words instead of paraphrasing them. The critical thing to remember is that you don’t copy the other party’s word without recognizing them.
9. Always be courteous
Effective mails blend personal and professional tones. It’s just like when you write a cover letter for a job. So be sure to maintain both personal, ambiance, and professional content. When not sure about the tone you should use in e-mail, favor the smiley emotion when writing.
10. Look at the rank of the receiver and compose the e-mail accordingly
E-mails provide social equality to all messages, which means they can crumble hierarchies. You can e-mail Elon Musk today like you would your friend. However, you must keep in mind the position of the person you are writing to and honor them with respect.
11. Avoid flaming
Flaming refers to responding to e-mail messages in an emotional and opinionated manner or in an inflammatory way., Even if you find that your sender’s mail is combustible and the excellent rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours before reply. Flaming can only lead to more flaming, making lousy diplomacy and infective communication.
12. Proofread and edit your work carefully.
Don’t let your professional guard down, and you need to be aware of informality. The common mistakes are using sloppy spelling, punctuation, and typos. Silly mistakes won’t get your message across; you need to proofread and spell-check the message’s text before you send it.
Careful proofreading will look at misspellings, inconsistencies, incorrect/missed punctuation. On the other hand, editing will help correct writing at the core, like language clarity and sentence construction. Through editing ensures clarity, readability, and tone of the text. Proofread your mail only when you’re done editing.
Get help writing a professional and academic mail today straight to your inbox!
As you can see from the above guide, e-mail is one of the common forms of communication today. However, lost in communication, people fail to recognize that e-mail enrolling should take a professional style. And that’s why many students don’t know how to go about it. But not you with access to this free tips sheet!
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