4 Best Ways to Write a Work Email in English

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We write emails every day in our personal and professional lives. Being able to write a professional work email is important for our careers because it demonstrates effective written communication. Here are four strategies to write business emails to assert yourself, sound professional, and get the job done.

Hello, Advanced English Learners! Welcome back to this lesson. Today, we're going to talk about how to write a nice work email. So in professional settings, when you are sending emails for work and for business events, you want to know how to write an email and what that should look like. So we're going to talk about that in this lesson.

Stay tuned. We're going to be right back. All right. So the first thing you want to think about is to keep your email short. That shows that you are respectful of the email recipient's time, the person who is receiving the email from you, and you're not going to be seeing lots and lots of texts. You don't want to see blocks of text or paragraph offs and paragraphs.

If somebody sees that, they're probably not going to read it and they are probably going to be a little bit annoyed that you sent something that long. If you're going to send something that long, you're much better off meeting with them in person to go over whatever you have to say. Hopping on a quick phone call to clarify something, or maybe not that quick, but if you have a lot to say, but meeting with them virtually or in person, if you have a lot to say, an email is not where you put all of that information.

An email is going to touch base. It's going to follow up. It's going to be a call to action. It's going to be a reminder. It's not going to be where we write a whole saga. Okay? So that's something to keep in mind. So not only the email itself should be short, but also the sentences don't write extremely long sentences.

When a sentence is too long, it's a run-on sentence and that's grammatically incorrect. You don't want to see a whole paragraph as one sentence. So that is something to think about as well as you're writing the email and you're composing your sentences, what can you say in as few words as possible? Can you get rid of redundancies?

Can you get rid of overused words? Can you get rid of modifiers that are not really doing much for you? Can you make it as succinct as possible, meaning as short and concise and to the point as possible? So the fewer sentences you have, the better. And also the fewer words in those sentences, the better. We actually didn't talk about the subject line, so I want to talk about that before we move on to the next point.
That's important. You want to before the person opens the email, they want to know what the emails are about. So you want to make it clear to them what is the purpose of this email? What are they going to expect to read in this email? So it could be just two or three words, oftentimes more than one for a business type of email.

It could be three, like catching up with you. That's for touching base follow up, dinner meeting, lunch meeting, zoom call. Or you can give us more specifics like “6/12 meeting,” for example. But you want to have a subject line there and you want to make it so that the person knows what they're getting into. What is this email before they open it?

They sort of have a general idea. Okay, so that's the subject line. All right. Moving back to the actual email, make sure that you are providing enough context. What is the context? Is it a meeting for shareholders? Is it a meeting for potential clients? Is it a meeting discussing the possible candidates? What kind of meeting is it? Right.

So if you just say the meeting next Thursday, there are so many different meetings and the person probably has their schedule full of different types of meetings, you need to give them lots of context. The type of meeting, the date, the time, the venue, right? Whatever context you can provide, provide it. And again, you don't have to put fluff in there.

You don't have to say it's the restaurant. We've been meaning to try or make sure that you, you know, have the whole list of candidates ready. That kind of thing can be done over the phone in an email you want to be just really getting to the heart of the conversation, the meat of the message, if that makes sense.

So give them enough context. Don't have them scratch their heads and say, Well, I don't really understand what this email is about. I don't have enough context for it or they talk about the event. But they didn't really give me much to think about in terms of the logistics or where it is, or maybe the time is missing, maybe the date is missing.

So some things to think about when considering the context. You can think of the who, the what, the where, the when and the why. Okay, so the five W's and then if you want to go out on an extra limb, sometimes it's possible there is the how component. Okay, so that's the who, what, where, when, why. And then sometimes there's the how, like, how were we getting to the venue?

Oh, we have a shuttle bus picking us up at five sharp 5 p.m. sharp 5 p.m. on the dot. So don't be late because there is only one shuttle bus. All right. So that's context. That's giving them the understanding of what's happening, right? So the way you can do this is you can think of it from their perspective because you might have all the details and to you, it just might be, you know, very obvious.

But to the email recipient, to the person who is reading this email and receiving this email, it might not be clear. So if you've covered all your bases with the who, what, where, when, why and how, then you've probably hit all of the important points, if not, then you might want to consider revising your email. I strongly suggest that you do so for clarity purposes and think about it from their shoes.

What kinds of questions are they going to have? For example, they might have a question about dress code, right? It's a business event, but it's taking place at the Plaza Hotel, which is a hotel, but, it's not so much a hotel anymore. I think part of it is residential. In New York City, there's a landmark building. It is a beautiful hotel and there are a lot of events that get hosted there: weddings, corporate events, things like that.

And so if you are at work but you need to go to this event, chances are you're not going to show up in your work attire. It's going to be a little bit fancier, might even be black tie. So if you know that information but you don't share that information, that's a problem, right? Because the person's then going to show up to that event underdressed or inappropriately dressed, right.

If it's black tie and they're wearing a suit and blazer, but it's a work suit and blazer. It's not a fancy suit and blazer. That is an inappropriate dress code. Right, that they're going to have to go home and change and a big ordeal. So you want to make sure that everything is crystal clear and you want to make sure that you understand their viewpoint.
Right. So put yourself in their shoes if you are the person receiving this email and you didn't know all the information you know about the event, then what information do you need so that you can have success and show up in the right way to this event? Okay. So that's very, very important. Another thing you can do is add the call to action.

If there is something that you want this person to do, then you need to make that abundantly clear. And that's what we call the call to action. Meaning what action are they going to take? What action do you need them to take to have a successful outcome? So that needs to be very clear. Somewhere in the email you wouldn't necessarily write Call to action boldface type column, and then whatever the call to action is, it could be simply could we meet for coffee
5 p.m. today? We need to discuss the blueprints. Right. That could be a call to action or did you have a chance to talk to Matthew in the IT department to follow up? So it's not necessarily explicitly stated. That would be a little bit rude, but it's enough of an obvious request that they know what to do.

Right. And you don't want to have too many calls to actions in one email because then it's overwhelming and then they might be confused, like, Oh, what do I do? Do I do this or do I do that? Do I talk to Matt or do I check the blueprints at 5 p.m. with you over coffee? So you want to make it very clear the call to action can even sort of be alluded to in the subject line.

So that might be a way to sort of get them thinking about what they need to do. But again, don't try to put too many calls to actions in one email. That's going to be confusing for the email recipient. And also, it's not a good protocol. It's not good email etiquette. All right. And lastly, if there are next steps that need to be taken, put those in there as well.

For example, let's follow up on this next week. Let's talk to Matt together tomorrow to make sure everything's clear for the IT department, whatever it is. What are the next steps that you need to take with them or they need to take in order to have a positive, successful outcome? So think about what those are and make sure you verbalize them.

Get that in writing. And again, because these emails are sure you don't want to cram too much in if there's a lot to talk about, then you want to get them on the phone, get them over a video call, or better yet, get them in person. So you might send out an email, say, hi, Jane, I'm going to stop by your office 4 PM today.

There are a few things I'd like to discuss with you and then send a follow up email with the call to action with next steps, any contacts they need to be aware of. So that's how we leverage email. Email is a very powerful tool if we use it correctly, and the steps that I shared with you today are the ways to use email as a tool correctly, which is going to empower your communication.

It's going to give you the outcomes that you want to see at work and in your professional life, because what better place to use emails than at work? Right.

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