Disclosures of an Intern: How to Draft the Perfect Email

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Emails are the primary mode of communication in the corporate world. Whether it’s applying for a job or pitching a product to a client, the working professional must be familiarized with the do’s and don’ts of the electronic mailing system. Effective communication is essential. It allows you to present yourself as a competent individual and above all else, represent your organization in a positive light.

Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” And there is no escaping that. In order for you to write the perfect email, you must be reasonably proficient in the language in which you are constructing the email.

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian-British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. Source: Wikipedia

During my 3 month internship at Intelectasia, I have come to realize the importance of digital communication and how it affects day to day interactions and business transactions. It has since dawned on me that emails are literally the main source of interaction between colleagues, organizations and in employer-employee relationships.

Despite forming part of the anatomy of digital communication, learning how to draft a proper email wasn’t emphasized enough at university. In my opinion, students who are about to graduate must be armed with the essentials of writing an email or risk floundering in the real world. Without further adieu, here are some useful tips on creating a foolproof email. Soon to be graduates, I hope this article finds you well.

Email subject

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An email subject is extremely important. It is unwise to leave an email subject blank. It exhibits a sign of disrespect and nonchalance. In fact, writing a well crafted subject is of utmost importance because it will attract the attention of the receiver. With the torrent of emails that constantly flood the inboxes of working professionals, it is so easy for emails to be overlooked. Write a subject that conveys the purpose of your email. For example, if you want to offer to purchase a BMW, state the following: “Offer to Purchase BMW.” Your email header must be direct to the point and indicative of what is to be expected in the email body when the receiver decides to click open your email.

Begin with an appropriate greeting

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When you write an opening statement, you must direct your statement to the recipient. For example, if you are addressing an executive from a bank, this indicates a formal setting. Therefore, your greeting should be written accordingly. You could write the following: “Dear Liza, …” If you are sending the email to a work colleague or a friend, this would indicate a slightly lesser formal setting. Accordingly, your email greeting could be phrased as: “Hi Liza …”

Formalities

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There has been much debate over the usage of emoticons and smileys in emails. I would personally recommend avoid using it under a formal setting. If you are conversing with a friend or work colleague via email, then arguably, it’s fine to do so. Otherwise, information communicated should be strictly professional.

State purpose of sending email

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You have to state your reason for sending the email. It sounds trite but many people tend to beat around the bush and often leave much to doubt in their emails. Ambiguous emails are a big no-no. They are confusing and counterproductive. To avoid misunderstanding, clearly state the purpose of your email in the first sentence immediately after your greeting. Doing so would establish the boundaries of your email content and would give the reader a general idea of what to expect.

Body of content

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Besides the subject, this would most likely be the more challenging pursuit when writing an email. Language is sophisticated. It isn’t easy. To be able to convey a message cohesively takes a special skill. As working professionals, we are required many a time to deliver complex information and instructions via email and it can be an arduous task, especially for the untrained mind. Therefore, it is vital to remain structured and coherent in drafting out your email body, bearing in mind at all times that simplicity in language and brevity in detail is crucial to heightened comprehension.

Closing remarks

Writing a closing sentence should not be taken lightly. A message should never be left hanging. It signals inaptitude and that the writer does not take his reader seriously. It is always polite to end an email with words like – “Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you soon.”

Be polite

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I cannot stress this enough. You can tell a lot about a person through how he or she responds via email. A person who takes the time to draft a grammatically sound email as opposed to one laced with spelling errors displays class and dedication. This strengthens trust between the sender and receiver.

In a nutshell, crafting the perfect email takes time, patience and practice. It may seem trivial, but is fundamental to securing the confidence of clients, co-workers, prospective employers or people in general. One must always keep in mind that writing an email requires you to behave professionally, courteously and humbly at all times. Never attempt to be personal or intimate in your emails. As Judith Martin once said, “For email, the old postcard rule applies. Nobody else is supposed to read your postcards, but you’d be a fool if you wrote anything private on one.” With that in mind, I bid you farewell and wish you a pleasant and fruitful emailing experience!