Writing Great Emails

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Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Dear: A common word to start an email.

Dear Kevin, How have you been?

(2) Greetings from: A common way to start an email to a group of unknown people.

Greetings from our team, We would like to welcome you…

(3) Tone: The emotional feeling of writing.

Start off by asking about his kids. That’ll create a happy tone.

Today’s

Questions

1. Why does Amazon start their email with “Hello”?

a. They want to be friendly and casual.

b. They want to be in charge and businesslike.

c. They want to be friendly with a group they don’t know.

2. Why does a boss start an email with just a name?

a. He wants to be friendly and casual.

b. He wants to be in charge and businesslike.

c. He wants to be friendly with a group they don’t know.

3. Why might a company start a mass email with “Greetings from…”?

a. They want to be friendly and casual.

b. They want to be in charge and businesslike.

c. They want to be friendly with a group they don’t know.

7________________________

Writing Great Emails

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En-velop_bleu

By Jeremy Schaar

The past two weeks we’ve been looking at email greetings. Let’s review the greetings we’ve seen.

  • Dear is the most popular greeting and is great for most situations.
  • Dearest is good to use with someone you love. You won’t use it much in business situations, but it’s possible with an old colleague or someone who was really helpful.
  • You can use “Just A Name” for emails when you want to be more direct.
  • Hello, hey, and hi are all good and give your email a casual, friendly tone.
  • Sometimes you won’t use any greeting at all. “Nothing At All” is good for emails that are more like chatting. Or it’s possible for situations where you don’t know the person’s name or you’re writing to a large group.
  • Greetings from is a friendlier way to begin an email if you don’t know the person’s name or you’re writing to a large group.

OK. Enough review, let’s look at some real life examples and how they sound.

The first example is from Amazon.com. I returned some items and here’s how they began their email.

“Hello,

We’re writing to let you know we processed your refund of…”

Amazon begins the email with just “Hello”. This creates a friendly feeling. They don’t include my name because it’s just a form letter and they don’t know who I am. Still, it’s friendly and casual, just like Amazon.

The second example is from an old boss of mine. He wrote:

“Jeremy,

Great job working on this. You…”

He was my boss and we were talking about work, so he didn’t use dear or anything at all, just my name. It made him seem in charge, like he’s the boss so he doesn’t need to greet me in a special way. This is probably a good thing, but notice that it’s very businesslike.

Here’s a third example:

“Greetings from FelixPlus,

You’ve been chosen as one of…”

This is from a company that wanted me to try their product. They didn’t know my name because I’m on a big list, but the “greetings from” sounds nice and friendly. I like it as an opening.

Want more practice? Got questions? Comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

A, B, C

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

2 Responses to “ “Writing Great Emails”

  1. Sean says:

    I think that one of the biggest challenges with writing a business email is knowing what the right level of formality is. Clearly when exchanging notes with the people you work directly with, you want to keep it very informal. When you’re working with your clients, however… the correct level of formality varies significantly from person to person and organization to organization. Sometimes it’s the corporate culture that sets the tone. Perhaps it’s how far up the food chain they are (pick a greeting that respects their rank). Other times it is your personal experience with them that dictates it.

    I’ve seen a lot of people come in and their first business emails are *super* formal. It can honestly be distracting or even worse, off-putting. This is a great topic!.

  2. stuartmillenglish says:

    Yeah, tough to get it right, especially when English isn’t your first language. People should learn what words and grammar go with what formality level and how cultural expectations differ from their native language. (Before even getting into how things differ by company.)

    The plan for these posts is just to give students five-minute lessons. Tough to cover much in five minutes, but hopefully it’ll slowly build to greater understanding.

    By the way, if you ever have examples of good or bad emailing that you can remove personal identifiers and send to me, I’d love to use them.

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