In today’s digital era, emails have become a vital part of our daily lives. We come across many situations where we may have to draft emails regarding – our placements, college fest, obtaining permission for internship/industrial visit, inviting various dignitaries/faculty/seniors/alumni for various occasions, sharing our personal experiences with our friends, staying in touch with our relatives, etc. The context could be Formal/Informal.
For instance, knowing when to use Cc & Bcc is very important. If used wrongly, it can lead to misunderstanding & the mail recipients might feel disrespected.
Suppose you are to send your Research Paper by email to a College for a Paper Presentation. Today is the deadline, and you email them, saying that you have attached the Paper, and you forget to attach it!!!
Can you imagine the situation?? You lose the chance to participate because of your carelessness.
Similarly, be careful how you address your reader. For instance, beginning an email to your professor with “Hey!” might be perceived as being rude or presumptuous (as in “Hey you!”).
Here are a few pointers that will help you communicate better digitally J.
- Use a meaningful subject
- Avoid using Urgent & Important unless it is really required
- Use a font that has a professional or neutral look (Calibri, Arial etc)
- Be concise and to the point. Know the purpose and the reason you are writing the email.
- Ensure readability. If you have multiple points to mention use numbers or bullet points, space your sentences and points to increase readability. Try and keep your paragraphs short and add space between them.
- One email should preferably address one point or issue
- Avoid long sentences. Be direct and use simple present tense.
- Use proper spelling, grammar & punctuation. It’s essential to do a Spell check and check grammar too.
- Avoid using “Capitals”. It’s understood as shouting.
- Ensure you address all aspects of the situation or point you are making. Answer all questions and pre-empt further questions.
- Do not attach unnecessary files
- Always check if you have attached the necessary files before hitting the send button
- Do not overuse “Reply to All”
- Learn the purpose of using Cc & Bcc properly
- Respond promptly to emails. Its good manners to do so and will stand you in good stead.
Before starting to draft your email, decide on the purpose of your message and outcome you expect from your communication. An email usually has three parts – a greeting, body and closing or sign off.
Things to know about Address field in emails
To – is the intended person or persons to whom the email is addressed. People who are to take action.
Cc – Carbon copy. Cc is intended to people who need to be informed but don’t need to take any action.
Bcc – or Blind carbon copy. As the name suggests, the person in Bcc gets to see the email without the main recipient’s knowledge. Bcc is usually used for bulk mailing. When you have to email the same content to 50 or more people, who may not know each other.
An email either Formal and Informal, gives the reader an impression about you. Take time to think before you start. Be aware of what you say and how you say it.
Some examples to Open/Close emails in Formal Contexts
Opening greeting: When in doubt, address someone more formally to avoid offending them. Common ways to address your reader are:
- Dear +
Mr. + family name/ Ms. + family name/ Dr. + family name/ Sir or Madam/ first name
In case you aren’t sure to whom you are writing or if it’s a large number, you could open email and address it as
- Dear members of the Selection Committee,
- Thanks/ Thank you for +
your quick reply/ your email about…/ meeting me yesterday/ using our…
- I am writing (to you) +
about…/ in order to…/ to…/ because…/ in connection with…/ regarding…/ concerning…
- I look forward to/ (I am) looking forward to +
hearing from you/ hearing from you soon/ your reply/ seeing you again
- Thanks/ Thank you +
again/ in advance/ – / for your patience/ for your understanding
- If you require any further information/ you have any (more) questions/ need any more info/anything is not clear +
please do not hesitate to contact me/ let me know/ please get in touch/ just drop me a line
- Hope +
that is okay/ that is acceptable with you/ we have the chance to meet again soon
- Yours +
- sincerely/ faithfully/
Best + regards/ wishes/
Informal emails follow a more casual style. I’m giving a few examples that you can use.
- Hi +
first name/ everyone/ guys/ –
- How +
are you/ was your weekend/ ‘s it going/ ‘s life/ are things/ have you been
Remember to add the question mark at the end J.
- Trust +
you are well/ you had a good weekend/ everything is fine
- It was nice to +
meet you yesterday/ see you last week/ hear from you
Main body of the email:
- Could you please / Could you possibly/ I would be grateful if you could +
tell me more …/ let me know…/ give me some information about…/ help me with…
- Please find the information +
attached/ below/ enclosed
- See you +
later/ then/ on Monday/ next week
Think about your message before you write it. You will improve the clarity of your message if you organize your thoughts before you start writing. Make a draft and edit it to ensure it conveys the information logically in the best possible way and gets the desired action.
Reflect on the tone of your message. It’s easy for someone to misread / misunderstand when you are communicating via email as there are no gestures, voice inflections, or other cues to support you.
Take time to draft your email and don’t ever send it in haste.