Email etiquette 101

Writing an email is a form of communication eliminated of several exterior influences like voice inflection and body language. This makes choosing the right words even more important. You wouldn’t want your boss getting the wrong idea by signing a vacation request email with “All my love,” for example. Here are a few tips to remember when deciding what to say.

Opening an Email

Informal

Writing an email to a close friend isn’t something that needs a lot of propriety. Much like other forms of communication, an email can be more relaxed when writing to someone you know well and are relaxed with. Using just the recipient’s name or a simple “Hi,” should be sufficient and communicate closeness to the reader.

Formal

Writing to someone you don’t know well or to an employer figure requires a bit more formality. Using “Dear” followed by the intended reader’s name or “Good afternoon” or “Good evening” Should express the proper amount of respect and formality.

Respectful

Use this tone when writing to a higher institution such as a prospective employer. Opening with “To whom it may concern” conveys a high level of respect and lets the reader know they are being approached in a highly professional tone.

Closing an Email

Informal

Again, using your name is always a good way to end an informal email. However, using “Love,” or “With love,” is also a good option in this setting, as it communicates closeness. Unlike writing in the formal and respectful tones, letting the reader know the closeness you feel in your relationship is a good thing.

Formal

Much like opening a formal email, you should end your message with respect but not too much pomp and circumstance. Using “Sincerely,” is the classic choice, however ending with “Yours truly,” or similar will communicate respect while also sounding less programmed. This is a nice bridge between an informal and a respectful tone.

Respectful

Be sure to follow through with a respective tone until the end of your message. Ending with “Sincerely,” or “Regards,” communicates respect. Depending on the nature of your message, you may also want to include “Thank you for your time,” if the email is requesting any sort of action.

    The next time you sit down to send an email consider the nature of your email, the relationship you share with the recipient and the message you want to communicate. Doing so will help ensure that your friends don’t fear they’ve lost your friendship, or confuse your boss with a miscommunication of romantic advances.

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