The Write Way: The Workplace Email Structure
Writing emails is an essential part of business, whether it be outreaching a product, responding to customer enquiries or communicating with colleagues. A well written email can be responsible for winning new business and developing existing relationships with customers or clients. The ability to skilfully construct a message can allow you to navigate through difficult complaints and satisfy demanding minds. Despite the influence a finely crafted letter can empower us with, most of us tend to neglect it as a tool that can be refined and employed to maximum effect. After all, everyone already knows how to write, right?
The first technique to consider in improving your professional writing is language. There is no special vocabulary necessary in business. Just like you, the people you are communicating with speak normal everyday English. Don’t assume that your readers are expecting a wall of jargon, and don’t presume they will be impressed by it. Crafting a professional email requires the same basic principles of all good writing. While a work-related letter is different to a message you would send a friend, the difference is in what you’re writing about, not how you write it.
Before you begin typing away at a correspondence, you first need to articulate in your mind exactly what it is you want it to achieve.
- If necessary, re-read all relevant correspondence between you and the person you are messaging. Make sure you have all the data (facts, figures etc) of importance to the situation.
- Have the reason for writing firmly in your head - does this person need pacifying, are they wanting some information, do you need to reject them - and keep it in mind as you write.
- Decide on what response you expect from them before you start writing, as this will influence your overall approach.
There are 3 parts to a basic business letter formula, and their order is set. Once you are aware of them, you can stop wasting your time and energy on the structure and spend them refining your use of words instead.
- The reason you are writing to them. Be as explicit as possible.
- Presenting your facts to them. Assemble them in a logical order.
- What you would like them to do for you. Be clear on what you expect of them, and prioritise tasks if you have more than one.
The best emails convey only important information, in the shortest time possible, and in an easily accessible language. Get straight to the point - say what you need to say, and no more.
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