When composing a business email, setting the right tone can be tricky.
Let’s say your client or boss receives hundreds of emails in a day. With so many emails, he or she must choose which ones to read in a matter of seconds. If your email address isn’t familiar or your subject line is generic it may be deleted or ignored. However, an informal subject line or email may be viewed as unprofessional or even disrespectful.
So, how do you set the right tone in a business email? When composing an email, it is good to consider some of the following questions. How do you know this person? What, if any, contact have you had in the past? Is the person a superior at work or a client? Is the person family or a friend?
Generally, if this is the first contact between you and the person, you might want to use a formal tone. First impressions are important.
Avoid contractions and use the passive voice where appropriate for a more formal tone. You may consider using the recipient’s full name or their title. Also don’t forget to add your contact information.
If you have already engaged in correspondence with the person and they have replied in an informal tone, perhaps using “Hi” and your first name as a greeting, don’t feel uneasy about matching their informal tone.
One thing to keep in mind is that formal isn’t always the same as professional. In a work environment, it’s important to always remain professional, even when the tone is informal. Inappropriate jokes, negative comments and gossips have no place in business emails. Remember emails can easily be forwarded and once you send an email you can never take it back. Don’t get too comfortable, keep things professional at all times.