BUSINESS ENGLISH

Seven tips for emailing in English

TIP #1: Keep it short and simple.
As in all business writing, the most important thing is to be clear. Observe the “KISS” rule (Keep it Short and Simple). Say something as directly as you can. Keep in mind that e-mails that take up more than one full screen usually aren’t read right away.

Poor communication:

I am writing to you to inform you of the fact that Comtek Industries is implementing a brand new ordering system for online orders. Henceforth, you will have the opportunity to use this APC system to place your orders, thereby saving you a great deal of time in your ordering process.

Much improved:

Comtek Industries now offers you the opportunity to place your orders online.

TIP #2: Use words you’d use while speaking instead of more formal words and phrases.

EXAMPLES OF WORDS & PHRASES TO AVOID:

WRITE THIS INSTEAD:

acknowledge receipt of

We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated March 12, 2010.

 

Thank you for your letter of March 12.

at the present time / at this moment in time

At the present time we have no plans to release a new version of the software package.

We currently have no plans to release a new version of the software package.

due to the fact that

Due to the fact that we missed our sales targets this quarter…

 

Because we missed our sales targets this quarter…

during which time / over the course of this period

Over the course of this period, we grew our revenues by 40%

We grew over revenues by 40% over this period.

henceforth

Henceforth, all expense reports must be submitted within 30 days of travel.

From now on, all expense reports must be submitted within 30 days of travel.

in the event that

In the event that you cannot attend the conference…

If you cannot attend the conference…

TIP #3: Make the subject line clear and useful.
Did you know that the average business person receives about 50 emails per day? You want to make sure your emails stand out and get read — a clear, compelling subject line is a great way to do that.

UNHELPFUL SUBJECT HEADING:

IMPROVED:

Urgent! Reply needed!

PLEASE REPLY: March expense report now due

Sales info

Sales figures for third quarter

Meeting

Marketing meeting today at 4PM

Russia

Report on Russian oil industry now available

Your order

Your order with Coffee Express has shipped.

TIP #4: State your purpose early in the message.
Begin by letting your reader know why you are writing. Explain action items and priorities. Personal messages and well wishes are usually best kept for the end of the email, after your “business” is already stated.

TIP #5: If you have many points to make, organize them with either bullet points or numbers.
The email will be much easier for your recipient to process. Also, your recipient will then be able to reference your points more easily in his or her response. (Example: Regarding point #4 in your email…).

TIP #6: When you’re all finished. go back and edit your email. Run spell-check.
Typos make you look unprofessional. Be extra careful not to mix up words such as homonyms that spell-checker won’t catch, such as:

  • they’re / their / there
  • to / too / two
  • it’s / its

TIP #7: Always include your contact information at the end of your email.
Your recipient will appreciate quick access to your company name, address, phone and fax number.

   
 
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