How to write a formal email

Business people are extremely busy. You cannot expect them to have the time or patience to open and read every email that awaits them in their inbox. Needless to say, mails that do not seem urgent or important are more likely to get ignored (or even deleted). Here are a few tips to ensure that your email message gets the attention it deserves.

Choose your subject carefully.

The subject line of your email is undoubtedly the most important part of it. If it grabs the attention of your reader, your mail will get read. Mention the main purpose of your email in the subject line. Avoid subject lines like urgent or hi: they are unlikely to get read. Also avoid making false claims in the subject. Remember that your subject must match the content of your email.

Choosing a subject that is specific, clear and relevant is particularly important while writing to people who might not immediately recognize your name. Because emails carry the threat of viruses and other malware, people are less likely to open messages from senders they do not immediately recognize. If the subject is clear, they might consider opening your message.

Introduce yourself, if necessary. If you are emailing someone who does not know you, you might need to introduce yourself. Keep your introduction short and to the point.

Include necessary information in the body of the message.

Your email should contain more information than your subject line. Summarize the purpose of your writing in the first paragraph of your email. Make sure to include all relevant information. If the email is more than a few paragraphs long, give a summary of the details in the last paragraph.

Leave out unnecessary information.

Keep your message short and concise. Email messages are not supposed to be longer than a few paragraphs. If your message is unnecessarily long, the reader may stop before reaching the end. Or in the process of skimming the message, they might fail to notice important details.

If your email contains more than one question or request, consider numbering them. By doing that you can improve your chances of getting all the information you were requesting.

Maintain a professional tone

Just like letters, emails too can be divided into two categories: formal and informal. In formal or business emails sent to clients or colleagues, it is imperative that you maintain a professional tone. An informal and very unbusinesslike email will not only ruin your reputation but also prove detrimental to your business.

Of course, emails are a little less formal than letters; you should still make them look professional by adhering to standard rules of capitalization and punctuation. Check your spelling and grammar before hitting the send button. As far as possible avoid words and phrases that are not considered appropriate for the workplace. Use standard fonts and font-sizes. Avoid the temptation to use all caps anywhere in the email. If you want to emphasize a particular word or phrase, make it bold.

Sections in this article

Acceptance letter sample
Business letter writing tips
How to Write an Apology Letter
Business Apology Letter Sample I
Personal Apology Letter Sample I
Email writing tips
Resume writing
How to write a cover letter
How to write a letter of enquiry
Standard phrases used in formal letters

Formal letter writing

Address and date
Body of the letter
Subscription or leave-taking
The Tone and Language of a Letter
Personal Letter Writing Tips
Example of formal letter and envelope
Formal Letter Sample 2

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Exclamations: common errors
Common mistakes with pronouns - Part 2
Common errors with adjectives - part 1
Common errors with adjectives - part 2

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