Are you stuck with writing a formal email? Are you used to writing casual emails to friends and family but don’t know how to write a formal email properly?
Don’t worry. You’re not the only one. A lot of people struggle with this, formal emails are regularly called for when you’re sending an email to someone you don’t know well, A formal email is a right choice for every business situations. If you’re not certain whether to send a formal or informal email, it’s generally better to send a formal message.
- Why Email Writing Is Important
- What Is a Formal Email?
- Subject Line
- Be Precise
- Optimize Your Subject Line
- Use polite language and be to the point
- Edit & Proofread
- The use of Emoticons in emails
- Be careful with word count
- Manners Cost Nothing
- Find Your Voice
- Select the right recipients
- Avoid unnecessary information
Why Email Writing Is Important
It’s not important for email to be your primary method of communicating with your customers and other businesses. However, there are many problems that can accompany this writing a form of communication. As it turns out, there are various people that are unaware of how to effectively write an email to have the effects they desire.
Writing an email can appear like an extremely effortless task but when you consider the repercussions of getting it wrong, it can abruptly seem rather daunting. Miscommunication, sending the wrong thought of your business to a potential customer and even sounding offensive are all real risks of what can happen if you don’t follow the right strategy to write your content properly and thoroughly check it.
No matter you’re writing to your customers, partnership businesses, trying to create partnerships or attempting to generate leads, this article will tell you tips and tools to help you make the most of your emails. But, before that let’s discuss what a formal email is?
What Is a Formal Email?
A formal email is in general sent to someone you don’t know well or to someone who’s in authority. Examples of someone who you may send a formal email to include your professor, a public official, or even a company you’re doing business with. Especially, if your workplace has a formal environment, use formal emails with your boss and colleagues unless you’re told to do otherwise.
In fact, what makes a formal email dissimilar from a casual email is the structure. A formal email has a very explicate structure, with a definite salutation (the opening part of the email), signature section, opening sentence, and body.
Also, language is used differently in a formal email than in a casual email. Keep away from abbreviations, contractions, slang, emoticons, and other informal terminology. Moreover, the tone of a formal email is different as well. An informal email may not even follow proper grammar rules or use complete sentences, but a formal email always does.
Here’s an example of a formal email language:
The meeting is scheduled for December 7th at 10:30 a.m. All students must attend. Your assignment updates are needed.
Evaluate the formal language with the informal email language in this email:
Required meeting—Dec 7, 10:30 a.m. Updates needed. See ya there. 🙂
Both statements share the same information. But the tone of the first is more formal. Observe the unfinished sentence, slang, and emoticon in the informal example.
Writing a Formal Email
While an informal email can frequently be sent promptly, writing a formal email typically takes a bit more time and can be thought. Vigilant consideration needs to be given to every email element.
Keeping that in mind, let’s take a closer look at basic elements of a formal email:
The first thing, any reader reads in their inbox is the subject line. If the subject line is misleading or improper, your emails may not be opened, or considered unimportant. But be careful of making your subject line too long.
Example of a formal email subject line is:
Required Student Meeting: December 7th, 10:30 a.m.
Judge against the formal subject line with this informal email subject line:
Note that the first subject line is properly informative and complete. The informal subject line just barely touches on the topic which was sent to someone you know well.
The salutation straightforwardly addresses the person you’re sending the email to. It’s always used specifically informal email messages but sometimes skipped in informal messages. Here are some examples of formal salutations:
If you’re sending the email to a group, it’s easier to address the entire group rather than every individual here’s an example:
If you know the person’s name you want to send the email too, it’s better to use their name along with any title the person has. Here’s a sample formal salutation for an individual:
Dear Professor Josh,
In case if you don’t know the name of the person you’re trying to contact, you should make every effort to discover that information. As a final resort, it’s okay (but less effective) to address the email to the title of the person you hope to contact. Here’s an example of a formal salutation not including any name:
Dear Admin In charge,
In rare situations when you don’t know a person’s name or title, it’s okay to use this salute:
To whom it may concern,
The opening of a formal email sometimes requires the sender to introduce themselves. In contrast, informal emails which are sent to someone you know, the introduction isn’t needed.
Below is an example of an opening in a formal email:
My name is Laura Smith. I am the Human recourse Office of XYZ Company. This message is for new employees
The body of a formal email normally elaborates the purpose of the email. The body consists of detailed information, so it’s important to write clearly and concisely in a formal email. Remember your reader may not be familiar with you or with your topic. You wouldn’t like your email recipient to misunderstand any important point.
Make sure you use a punctuation checker like Grammarlookup.com to improve your overall text.
How you end a formal email is similarly important, because the email closing is the last thing your recipient looks at, your email closing may leave a lasting impression. A good formal email closing furthermore reminds the reader who you are since it should include your full name, contact information, and title (if appropriate).
In distinction, an email closing may be extremely casual for an informal email. In some situations where the recipient is well known to you, you may neglect the email closing.
The most common way to close a formal email is with the word “Sincerely.” It may be a common closing, but it’s also a safe closing.
Here’s an example of a formal email closing:
Officer HR, XYZ office
[Email address goes here]
[Phone number goes here]
Now that you know how to write a formal email, let’s discuss how to make the most out of your writing skills to create the superlative formal emails to leave on the impression.
While communicating through email, its important be specific what you’re talking about. For example, if you’re emailing to your business partners, it not worthy to write something like ‘I need this task done by tomorrow for the client’. Although nine times out of ten they may be familiar with what you’re talking about, why risk the miscommunication?
Optimize Your Subject Line
Like you receive countless emails every day, so does everyone else. To make your email stand out and fit for purpose chose the words for your subject line wisely. Imagine if you receive an email with no subject line or a subject line that seems irrelevant, what do you do with it? Most of the people will agree that, if you don’t know who the email is from, you’ll just delete it. This is particularly important if you’re contacting new businesses in the hopes of starting a partnership or trying to generate business leads.
Use polite language and be to the point
Remember the “Cs” of conciseness and courtesy? Formal communication should be polite and impersonal.
“We would like to inform you that the last date of submissions is Dec 7, 2015. Please do send in your admissions on that date.” Doesn’t it sound polite and clear? It also specifies the action required to be taken within a particular time.
Always make a rough draft of your email and read it putting yourself in the position of the reader. Are you sounding polite and courteous? Are you conveying all the necessary details? Is your communication to the point? Are you sounding sincere? (Red Alert! Casualness is okay with friends, not in the professional scenario, especially when you are writing an email to someone you don’t know as a person). So better plan your emails before you initiate to write any mail.
Edit & Proofread
This goes for any structure of written work but is still an aspect that is overlooked time and time again. Edit and proofread your message and make sure it makes sense and is grammatically correct. That includes spelling, sentence structure and punctuation a well-written, perfect email tells a lot about you as a person and as a business. Don’t forget to attach your files (if any). If you have attached any files in the mail, you can say “Kindly refer to the attached document.” Not to mention how awkward it becomes when you write this line and forget to attach the file.
The use of Emoticons in emails
Avoid using emoticons as much as possible! Everyone likes to put in a happy face J here and there, and it is often difficult to avoid because you want to make a connection with the person you are emailing, letting them know that your tone is happy in nature and friendly.
However, it may actually make it seem as you are childish and even unprofessional. Furthermore, if you want to gain respect from your co-workers and boss, it is best to avoid using them as much as possible…as difficult as it may be “:P”
Be careful with word count
Be concise. Keep in mind that everyone receives and read hundreds of emails every day. Try to keep your message short; however, do not exceed the length of five paragraphs. If your message is really long (for example, notes about a report) consider sending it as an attachment.
Avoid using block capitals. They leave an impression like you are shouting at your reader. Keeping above tips in mind, also make sure all your emails are consistent in quality and style. This represents that you put hard work into everything you do, even down to the emails you send.
Manners Cost Nothing
It is the best to open and close an email using ‘Dear’ at the beginning and ‘Best wishes’ or ‘Regards’ at the end. ‘Hi’ is not really suitable for business emails except you are familiar with the person you are writing to. Constantly think about the reader. Remember that people are unlikely to be offended if you are too formal, as some may think you are being rude if you are too informal.
Find Your Voice
Finding the voice of your email is one of the hardest parts to master. Trying to remain engaging and informative in your emails without sounding blunt can be a tricky and stressful task. Before clicking the send button, thoroughly read your email a couple of times, just to make sure you are giving the impression you want to give.
Select the right recipients
In some cases, your email needs coordination with or approval from other departments or officials remember to mark a copy (cc) to them. You can also send yourself a blank copy (bcc) for future reference.
However, you should be careful, not shoot off copies to unrelated people. This most probably happens when we are replying to group emails; we most of the times hit the “reply all” button instead of replying to the sender solely. In this era of information overload, the last thing every professional wants to have is an overflowing inbox with a lot of unrelated mail copies marked to him/her.
Avoid unnecessary information
Your email should be brief and complete at the same time. Use bullet points if your email has a lot of information or factual data. These are effortless to go through.
Highlight the significant areas. Reading through these sections should tell the reader what message you want to convey.
Don’t be unclear. State clearly what action should be taken. whilst it is not strictly possible to spell out terms in job applications, or requests for grants, remind the reader what you are writing for.
It’s not necessary to have much experience writing formal emails, but if you need to write one it’s important to do it right. Writing a formal email isn’t complicated when you know what to do. Now that all the necessary details are explained, you’re ready to write, format and send your own formal email. Good luck!