In the professional realm, emails serve as a ubiquitous form of communication. Whether for announcements, leave requests, appraisal inquiries, or promotions, individuals rely on emails to convey important information. However, it is not uncommon for professionals to compose messages that lack a formal tone. To avoid this kind of situation, here’s a guide on How to write formal emails that exude a professional aura. What is a Formal Email? Business emails, commonly referred to as formal emails, are essential tools for professionals to use in their line of work. Individuals may find themselves composing several formal emails throughout the day. A formal email is a type of email that is written in a professional or business setting. It is usually sent to someone who is not a close friend or family member, such as a colleague, supervisor, client, or business partner. Formal emails are typically written with a polite and professional tone and follow a specific format. These emails serve as a critical means of communication, particularly when interacting with higher authorities, as they can significantly impact the sender-receiver relationship, whether positively or negatively. Notably, formal emails are expected to be concise, succinct, and direct to the point. The Importance Of Writing Professional Emails According to a study, nearly 65% of millennials and Gen Z prefer digital communication over face-to-face communication. This highlights the importance of knowing how to write professional emails in our increasingly digital world. Without the ability to rely on verbal and nonverbal cues, it’s essential to ensure that your emails are crafted in a way that effectively conveys your message. There are several benefits to knowing how to write professional emails: It can save time by ensuring that the recipient understands your message the first time around. This can prevent back-and-forth exchanges and reduce the amount of time spent on email communication. It provides clarity, which is particularly important in a professional setting. Clear communication can help to avoid misunderstandings and ensures that everyone is on the same page. It shows competency and establishes a reputation for both the individual and the business. Writing professional emails can demonstrate that you take your work seriously and that you are a reliable and efficient communicator. In a professional setting, knowing how to write effective emails can also impact your reputation. Demonstrating reliability and efficiency can make or break your professional reputation in the eyes of colleagues, managers, and potential clients or employers. Providing meaningful information for those who need it can create and strengthen professional relationships. Using clear language can streamline processes and avoid confusion, ultimately leading to increased efficiency and productivity. Respectful communication can even help you land the job, raise, vacation time, or work extension you want. Questions to Consider Before Composing Your Email We know it’s all too easy to fire off emails based on your train of thought. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the hectic business day to day. This can lead to your email and other text based communications coming off as rude, demanding, or callous. That’s why it’s important to take a pause before even setting your hands down on the keyboard to ask a few basic questions. This will determine the tone and flow of your correspondence. Questions to ask yourself before writing a professional email include: How pertinent or time sensitive is my message? Follow this up with considering if you need an immediate response or if the time frame for a reply is flexible. Including this information for your recipient in a courteous and clear way will avoid awkward situations. For example, you may bullet point, highlight, or otherwise set this information apart in the email’s formatting. What (if any) sensitive information is included in my email? Identifying information about yourself, colleagues, and clients should never be sent unprotected through the internet. Always remember that anything you send can also be screenshot, forwarded, or printed out. If the information you are conveying seems questionable (and you don’t yet use an email encryption service like Canary Mail) request a follow-up meeting. For example, you’ll want to confirm with people outside of your corporation if it is okay to include their email, phone number, or other identifying information in an email. It should also go without saying that professional emails should be free of gossip, personal plans, and inappropriate images. What power and group dynamics are at play between me and my recipients? Tone and nuance are the hardest things to convey through text. No matter the recipient, you always want to write in a polite manner. However, keeping in mind the relationship between you and the recipients (and those between the recipients and each other) will most likely dictate the degree to which you control the outcome of your email. For example, are you in a position where your schedule is concrete or flexible? Do you have the authority as a superior to set task deadlines or are you a peer requesting tasks be completed in a timely manner? Choosing the Right Email Address It is essential to ensure that your email address looks professional and appropriate for your intended audience. If possible, use your name as the primary element of your email address, and try to limit the use of symbols and numbers to maintain a professional appearance. According to Benjamin Laker, a prominent columnist for Forbes, composing formal emails can be advantageous for individuals in the business world, including those in leadership roles. Whether you are creating an email address for work, education, or personal use, it is essential to consider how it may be perceived by others. A professional email address can help to establish credibility and make a positive impression on potential employers or colleagues. Your email address is not just a means of communication, but it also represents your professional identity. Therefore, it’s important to choose an email address that is both professional and appropriate for your industry. Best practices for creating a professional email address: Use your full name or initials: Using your full name or initials in your email address is a simple and effective way to create a professional email address. For example, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Avoid using nicknames or personal jokes: While it may seem funny to use a nickname or personal joke in your email address, it can come across as unprofessional. Stick to using your actual name or initials to keep it professional. Include your profession: If your profession is relevant to your email address, include it. For example, if you’re a writer, you could use email@example.com. Keep it simple and easy to remember: Avoid using complicated or lengthy email addresses that are hard to remember. A simple and straightforward email address is easier for people to remember and type in. Use a professional email service provider: Using a professional email service provider, such as Gmail or Outlook, can help to ensure that your emails are delivered and received without any issues. Types of Professional Emails CEOs, artists, educators, scientists, and in fact, all professionals benefit from knowing how to write a professional email. While the specific details included in an email vary greatly between industries and job responsibilities, most professional emails all fall into similar categories. Since the “how” of composition always depends on the “why” here are some common examples of professional email topics regardless of your chosen career: Scheduling Inquiries Services a Company Provides Job Openings Pricing Inter-Departmental Procedures Introductions Follow-Ups Group Wide Notifications Out of the Office/Vacation Reminders Contract Negotiations Each topic has its own level of time sensitivity, degree of familiarity, and even amount of technicality. With a template at hand, however, the writing process is greatly simplified and expedited. Professional Email Format When drafting a formal email, it is crucial to adhere to a specific format. A typical formal email should contain five key components, as outlined below: Subject Line Formal Greetings Email Body Professional Email Closing Signature We’ll explore each of them in detail. Formal Email Subject The subject line of a formal email serves as the first and most critical point of engagement for the recipient. Therefore, it is essential to exercise caution while crafting it. The subject line should be clear, concise, and attention-grabbing, without being overly complicated, as it could detract from its purpose of capturing the recipient’s attention. Some examples of good email subjects are: Invitation to Annual General Meeting. Proposal for the new design template. Request for new tools in logistics. Indeed, countless possible subjects could be appropriate for a formal email, and the key is to select the most fitting one for the message you are conveying. It is crucial to choose a subject line that accurately reflects the email’s content and purpose. Careful consideration and thoughtful selection of the subject line can help increase the likelihood of the email being read and responded to. Use Formal Email Greetings Start your email with a formal greeting, such as “Dear ,” or “Good morning/afternoon.” Avoid using informal or overly casual greetings, such as “Hey” or “What’s up.” Use greetings such as: Dear , Greetings, (if the recipient is unknown) Hi there, Hello , Body of the Email Writing a professional email body is an essential skill for effective communication in today’s business world. Here are some tips to help you write a professional email body: Start with a Clear and Concise Opening: Begin your email with a clear and concise opening that explains the purpose of your message. Be direct and to the point, and avoid unnecessary fluff or small talk. Provide Relevant and Specific Information: Make sure to include all relevant and specific information related to your message. This can include dates, times, names, and any other pertinent details that will help your recipient understand the purpose of your email. Be Courteous and Professional: Use a professional and courteous tone throughout your email. Avoid using slang or overly casual language, and always address your recipient with the appropriate level of formality. Use Proper Grammar and Punctuation: Use proper grammar and punctuation to ensure that your message is clear and easy to read. Avoid using all caps or excessive exclamation points, as this can come across as unprofessional. End with a Polite and Professional Closing Close your email with a polite and professional closing, such as “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” or “Thank you.” This will help to leave a positive impression on your recipient and signal the end of your message. You can always rely on: Sincerely Regards Looking forward to meeting you Tips For Writing Professional Emails – Examples Included If you’re tired of spending too much time on emails, it’s important to learn how to write professional messages effectively. Not only will this skill help you save time, but it will also improve your reputation as a thoughtful team member and increase your influence at work. To achieve these outcomes, you need to follow some basic guidelines to ensure your emails are clear, concise, and productive. Read our post: AI Email Writer. Here are some tips for writing professional emails, along with examples to help you get started. By practicing these techniques, you can avoid back-and-forth conversations, articulate your ideas clearly, and ultimately get things done more efficiently. Step 1: Identify what you want your email to convey The first step in writing a professional email is to identify what you want to achieve with your message. Before you start drafting your email, take a moment to think about the outcome you hope to achieve and what action you want the recipient to take. Do you need an update on a project? Are you trying to schedule a meeting? Or are you requesting feedback on a survey? Once you have a clear idea of your objective, you can focus on crafting a message that conveys your intention effectively. Remember, your words should serve as a call to action for the recipients, so make sure your message is clear and to the point. Step 2: Edit your recipient list When writing professional emails, it’s important to carefully consider your recipient list. Determine who you need to contact to achieve your desired outcome. If you’re requesting a status update, consider who has the necessary information, such as a team lead or project manager. To avoid cluttering inboxes, refrain from including unnecessary recipients. If you do add someone for information purposes or to keep them informed, provide a context in a short note. Avoid emailing an entire team if you only need to speak with a few individuals. Similarly, refrain from CC’ing your boss on all emails that don’t require their attention. Knowing your audience will help you create a more tailored message. A helpful tip is to default to “Reply” instead of “Reply all” when responding to emails to avoid flooding inboxes. Step 3: Tailor your subject line One of the best practices in writing professional emails is to tailor your subject line. In today’s fast-paced world, people tend to scan emails quickly and prioritize those that seem important. Therefore, crafting a standout subject line is crucial in getting your email noticed. To create a clear subject line, start by revisiting the outcome you want to achieve and use a verb or phrase that indicates the action you want the recipient to take. You can use precursors like “Decision,” “Action Required,” “Feedback,” or “For Your Information,” depending on the context of the message. Here is an example of weak vs. strong subject lines that you can customize for your own message. By tailoring your subject line, you can increase the chances of your email being opened and ultimately achieving your desired outcome. Example: You want your boss to make a decision on your proposal. Weak: New Marketing Strategy Strong: Decision Required: New Marketing Strategy Step 4: Craft your message Crafting your message is a crucial step in writing professional emails. It’s important to keep your message short and to the point, while still providing enough context for the reader to understand your request. Begin with the action you want the reader to take, follow up with the reason behind your request, and end by letting them know you’re available for any questions they may have. Using visual aids such as bullet points, bold text, italics, and shorter paragraphs can make your message easier to read and understand quickly. Remember, the length of your email will depend on the call-to-action and the amount of context needed, but the goal is always to structure the information in a way that is easy to comprehend. Example: Weak Hey, I was just wondering if you have some time to talk about the project we’re working on. I think there might be some things we need to discuss and I could really use your input. Let me know if you’re free. Thanks, Tom Example: Strong Hello, I hope this message finds you well. I’d like to arrange a meeting with you to discuss our current project. I believe there are several critical issues that must be ensured to ensure the project’s success. Also Read: Why Canary is the best email app for iphone. Overused and Problematic Email Phrases to Avoid Furthermore, it’s easy to get into patterns of responding that can make your response come off in an unintended way. Certain phrases have become overused and will undermine your overall message. Some have even become coded so that they imply something different from their original meaning. To avoid coming off as less competent or more abrupt than you actually are it’s important to read and reread your work before pressing send. If you spot any of the following phrases, consider reframing them in a way that is more positive and productive: “Sorry to bother you.”: There is no need to apologize when you’re simply doing your job. Leave this out altogether and be concrete about what you as a team need to do and by when. “No problem.”: The issue with this phrase is twofold in that it a) makes the recipient feel as if you’re forgiving them for something and b) may give off a false sense that your task will be simple, quick, or both when there might actually be unforeseen problems. “To be honest with you.”: While you may be trying to soften the blow or deflect unwarranted criticism, this phrase will actually make everything you’ve said up to this point seem disingenuous. “I’ll try…”/”I’ll do my best.”: Professional emails should be as concrete as possible. If you really need to communicate that there may be a snafu to you accomplishing something be upfront. For example: “I will contact my supervisor to get their opinion.” or “The best I can do is next Friday.” (Then push out your own expectation to give yourself ample time). “The problem is…”: The business world and consumers don’t like problems. Instead, frame your obstacles as exactly that: obstacles or challenges. Immediately follow up with a possible solution or the information of someone who could best resolve the situation. “As I mentioned before…”: This phrase immediately raises big red “passive aggressive” flags. Not to mention, it makes those who may not have fully comprehended your last correspondence feel inadequate and like they are being judged. If you find yourself on auto-pilot typing these words, it’s best to recommend a verbal meeting. “Checking in.” This phrase, especially when included in a subject line, is the quickest way to fill your recipient with trepidation. Consider reserving it only for when deadlines have been missed or in other strenuous circumstances. Key Professional Email Phrases to Have at Your Fingertips Writing can be daunting. Like most other activities, however, it comes with tricks and tools that simplify the process. One such tool is a list of go-to sentences for any situation you can imagine. These phrases are email magic words just like our already internalized “please and thank you.” (Mind you, simple pleases and thank yous still go a long way while composing an email.) Moreover, many purposes for written communication extend past typical emailing and into professional messaging via Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, and other professional portals. That’s why it’s important to have some basic responses and phrases literally at your fingertips. With the following expressions in your back pocket, you’ll be able to both write on the fly and create useful templative responses: Informing the Recipient of Your Purpose “I am writing to you about XYZ.” “Just a quick/friendly reminder about XYZ.” “I wanted to update you on XYZ.” Highlighting Key Information “Attached please find XYZ.” “Please see the information below for more details about XYZ.” “More information is available by (visiting our website, contacting XYZ, etc.).” “Attached, please find the document you requested.” “Click here (embed a link) for more information.” How You Expect the Recipient to Respond “Please feel welcome/free to contact me/us via (email, phone number, etc.).” “You can best reach me by (emailing, calling, texting, etc.).” “My office hours are XYZ.” “Please sign the attached document and send it back by (date).” Working Collaboratively “Any feedback you can provide would be greatly appreciated.” “I would appreciate your help in this matter.” “Please review (link, file, attached document, etc.) and let me know if you have any comments.” “If possible, I’d like to know (more) about XYZ.” “It would be very helpful if you could send us/me.” “I look forward to working together.” “I’d appreciate it if you could…” “I understand that ‘x’ has caused ‘y.’” “Let’s find a way to best resolve this issue/find a solution.” Offering to Complete a Service or Task “I would be happy to…” “If I/we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to reach out.” “We are grateful for your interest in XYZ.” Reminding Colleagues and Clients of Your Personal Time “Kindly remember that I will be unreachable from (date to date).” “Your patience in this matter is greatly appreciated.” “If you need any assistance during my absence please contact XYZ/refer to (file, previous email, etc.).” Politely (But Firmly) Declining a Request “Unfortunately, we cannot/are unable to XYZ.” “I’m afraid it will not be possible to XYZ.” “We regret to inform you that XYZ.” “After careful consideration, we have decided (not) to…” “It’s against company policy to XYZ.” “Despite my/our best efforts…” Extra Etiquette: When it comes to declining the request of a boss, collaborator, or coworker it is often helpful to outline concrete reasons why their request is unattainable. Here is also where outlining/paraphrasing previous correspondences is a helpful tool for mitigating potential consequences. Basic CC and BCC Etiquette One can’t simply talk about email composition without addressing the proper recipient field decorum. Knowing how your email is being read and by whom will dictate a) how much information you are sharing and b) the style of how it is written. We’ve already compiled a comprehensive guide on how and when to use CC and BCC, but here’s a basic summary: Carbon Copy (CC) emails are used mainly to introduce individuals. All recipients in the To and CC fields can “Reply All” AND see all other recipient emails in the To and CC fields. Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) emails are used to keep the BCC recipient informed while also protecting their identity. All recipients in the BCC field can see all those in the To and CC fields but the recipients in the To and CC fields cannot see those in the BCC field. CCing about every little detail can quickly turn into clutter. Only CC about significant events. BCCing should NEVER be used secretly or surreptitiously. If your gut is telling you it’s wrong to BCC someone, thoroughly reconsider before pressing “send.” Rare circumstances of appropriate BCC uses include: a) when the recipient has asked for privacy in group emails such as newsletters, b) when reaching out en masse to pitch a project or inquire about open job opportunities, and c) in emergency HR situations on behalf of the party being BCCed. When using the CC or BCC function, it is important to be clear in the email’s body about each party’s responsibilities in regards to the email. Specifically note if you expect to continue to be part of the conversation or if your part of the task is completed. Here are some common examples: I have CCed (enrollment team member) on this email so that he/she/they can take (new client’s name) through the next steps. They will be your point of contact from now on. Unfortunately, I do not have the answer to your question. Therefore, I have CCed (colleague’s name) about (restate the previous email’s question). Please “Reply All” to keep me informed as we continue. (Volunteer’s Name) has requested to keep their email address private. To keep them in the loop about our agenda and scheduling, I have BCCed them on this email and will continue to do so moving forward. Once everyone has responded to me with their preferences, we can confirm the time and date of our meeting. Use proper Grammar and Punctuation Use proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling to convey a professional tone and avoid misunderstandings. Make sure to proofread your email before sending it, and avoid using overly complex language or technical jargon unless it is appropriate for your intended audience. While Harvard Business Review has stated in one of the posts that while writing less formal emails may not necessarily harm your career, crafting professional emails can enhance your perceived competence among colleagues. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association has revealed that composing emails can be a challenging task, often resulting in the miscommunication of the intended message from sender to recipient. Here are some common examples: I have CCed (enrollment team member) on this email so that he/she/they can take (new client’s name) through the next steps. They will be your point of contact from now on. Unfortunately, I do not have the answer to your question. Therefore, I have CCed (colleague’s name) about (restate the previous email’s question). Please “Reply All” to keep me informed as we continue. (Volunteer’s Name) has requested to keep their email address private. To keep them in the loop about our agenda and scheduling, I have BCCed them on this email and will continue to do so moving forward. Once everyone has responded to me with their preferences, we can confirm the time and date of our meeting. Can AI Help You Write Better Professional Emails? In today’s digital age, email is one of the most important forms of communication. Whether you’re sending a quick message to a friend or colleague, or writing a formal business email, it’s important to make sure your emails are clear, concise, and professional. One way to improve your email writing skills is to use artificial intelligence (AI). AI-powered tools can help you with everything from grammar and spelling to tone and style. Here are a few ways AI can help you write better professional emails: Grammar and spelling checking: AI can help you catch errors in grammar and spelling that you might otherwise miss. This is especially important for professional emails, where a single mistake can make you look unprofessional. Tone and style checking: AI can help you make sure your emails are written in the right tone and style for the recipient. For example, if you’re writing to a client, you’ll want to use a more formal tone than if you were writing to a friend. Idea generation: AI can help you come up with ideas for your emails. This can be helpful if you’re stuck or if you need to write a long email. Formatting: AI can help you format your emails so they’re easy to read and understand. This includes things like adding headings, subheadings, and bullet points. If you’re looking for a way to improve your email writing skills, AI can be a valuable tool. There are a number of AI-powered tools available, so you can find one that fits your needs and budget. Here are a few AI-powered tools that can help you write better professional emails: Canary Mail: Canary Mail is an AI-powered email client that can help you write better professional emails. Here are some of the features of Canary Mail that can help you with your email writing: Grammar and spelling checker: Canary Mail has a built-in grammar and spelling checker that can help you catch errors in your writing. Tone and style checker: Canary Mail can help you make sure your emails are written in the right tone and style for the recipient. Idea generation: Canary Mail can help you come up with ideas for your emails. This can be helpful if you’re stuck or if you need to write a long email. Formatting: Canary Mail can help you format your emails so they’re easy to read and understand. This includes things like adding headings, subheadings, and bullet points. AI copilot: Canary Mail’s AI copilot can help you write emails faster by suggesting text, completing sentences, and even writing entire emails for you. Grammarly: Grammarly is a popular AI-powered grammar checker that can help you catch errors in grammar and spelling. ProWritingAid: ProWritingAid is another popular AI-powered grammar checker that can help you improve your writing style. Hemingway Editor: The Hemingway Editor is an AI-powered tool that can help you make your writing clearer and easier to read. Cliche Finder: Cliche Finder is an AI-powered tool that can help you identify and remove cliches from your writing. Wordtune: Wordtune is an AI-powered tool that can help you improve your writing style and tone. These are just a few of the many AI-powered tools that can help you write better professional emails. With a little help from AI, you can write emails that are clear, concise, and professional. How Canary Mail helps in writing professional emails In the professional world, email communication is a critical aspect of staying productive and efficient. However, managing a large volume of emails can be overwhelming and time-consuming. This is where Canary Mail can be a game-changer for professionals and teams. Canary Mail offers an effortless email experience that helps professionals write perfect emails quickly and easily. With features like intuitive design, bulk cleaner, and email categorizations, Canary Mail streamlines the email management process and helps teams work efficiently. Copilot automates the formal email writing for you Copilot is the signature feature of Canary Mail that lets you draft professional emails by just letting it know what you want. It will draft polished emails that are formal and clean. Let’s assume you want to Congratulate Elon on acquiring Twitter, you just need to give directions to the Copilot. Canary Mail has a lot to offer to its users. Improving productivity can be a daunting task, despite the abundance of available tips and strategies. Fortunately, Canary Mail offers a simple solution to help you achieve optimal productivity effortlessly. With a deliberate approach, you can gain command over your inbox and establish a clean and organized workspace, allowing you to prioritize important tasks. Canary Mail’s features minimize distractions and streamline workflows, empowering you to focus on what’s important. Take a look to these AI related articles to learn more: Canary Mail introduces generative AI for email writing How to write better email with AI email writing assistant Professional Email Writing Take-Aways Sometimes the key to professional success is like using your own toolkit to build IKEA furniture. You could get the task done using the basic Allen wrench you’re given, but having diverse, higher-quality supplies at your disposal makes the job both easier and quicker. In the case of email writing, this includes: An informative subject line Well-structured body “paragraphs” Clear next steps for communication and task completion Like any form of writing, it’s helpful to compile a collection of standard vocabulary and key phrases. However, be sure to always keep up with which email lingo has become either overused or problematic. Templates are a fantastic way to address reoccurring and repetitive email tasks. Just make sure to always be updating them with your current availability and contact information. The Canary Mail app is more than a security conscious inbox merging tool. We’re always innovating productivity tools like AI for email to help you efficiently compose and send emails. With our extensive guide to professional email writing in your backpocket (or rather browser bookmarks), we know that all your future emails will be written quickly and confidently Canary Mail has a lot to offer to its users. Improving productivity can be a daunting task, despite the abundance of available tips and strategies. Fortunately, Canary Mail offers a simple solution to help you achieve optimal productivity effortlessly. With a deliberate approach, you can gain command over your inbox and establish a clean and organized workspace, allowing you to prioritize important tasks. Canary Mail’s features minimize distractions and streamline workflows, empowering you to focus on what’s important. Take a look to these AI related articles to learn more: Canary Mail introduces generative AI for email writing How to write better email with AI email writing assistant Canary Mail’s Template Feature Templates are great time savers for responding to identical emails or those that fall under similar topics. They can be as short as reminding someone of your office hours and requesting a meeting then or as complicated as your biweekly report. Our Canary Mail app makes writing templates and sending them a breeze (even right from your phone). Plus, our unsend feature has your back if you notice that you’ve left something out, filled in the wrong information or edited the template incorrectly. Here’s a quick overview of how to create, send, and edit a template using Canary Mail: To create a Canary Mail Template: Open Canary and tap the menu icon at the top left. Open Settings > Templates under the heading ‘Composing’. Tap the + icon to add a template. Write the template text. Once you’ve finished, the template will be auto saved. Tap on the + icon to add another template or tap on the Back icon and then Done to exit the Settings TEMPLATE CREATE PICTURE To send a Canary Mail template: Open Canary and click on the Compose icon. Tap on the Template icon besides the attachment icon and choose a template from the list. Add the recipient’s email address in the To: field Make necessary changes in the email body, if any. When you’re finished, click Send. TEMPLATE USE PICTURE Edit or delete your Canary Mail template: Open Canary and tap the menu icon at the top left. Open Settings > Templates under the heading ‘Composing’. Here, you can see the list of templates you have created. Click on the template & modify it. Once you’ve modified, the template will be auto saved. Swipe left on the template to remove. Please note: You can’t undo this action. https://youtu.be/3eLzpJcst5Y Tips for Professional Communication in the Workplace. Source: Indeed.