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2.4: Email

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    Email serves as one of our most familiar forms of communication as it is one of the ways we communicate in professional and personal settings each day. Part of the reason for the wide uses of email is due to how it can be used like text, synchronous chat, and it can be delivered to a cell phone. In business, email has largely replaced print hard copy letters for external communication. E-mail can be very useful for messages that have slightly more content than a text message, but it is still best used for fairly brief messages.


    Email serves as a popular genre for many types of different communication within a professional context. Many businesses use automated e-mails to acknowledge communications from the public, or to remind associates that periodic reports or payments are due. You may also be assigned to “populate” a form e-mail in which standard paragraphs are used, but you choose from a menu of sentences to make the wording suitable for a particular transaction. You may also regularly email collaborators or clients regarding daily business tasks.

    One of the biggest concerns of many employees is how to write an email in a professional manner. Below will list some tips for writing a professional email along with going over a sample email.


    All professional communication requires attention to the specific writing context. The tips described below are also useful when communicating within an educational context, so you may even use these tips to help you communicate with your instructors.

    • Include proper salutation:Proper salutations designate respect for your audience. For example, if your professor has a PhD, you should refer to them as Dr. [last name]. When writing to a person in a professional setting you know is not male, avoid using Mrs. The marital status of the individual is irrelevant to the professional context.
    • Include a brief, clear, and specific subject line:Make sure the audience knows why you are writing the email. This helps the recipient understand the purpose of the message. For example, “question about the proposal” as a subject line makes clear to the reader the purpose of the email.
    • Keep the body of the email brief:emails are meant to be short, concise ways of communicating. Try to keep email messages as brief as possible. Make sure the first sentence of the email shares the subject or purpose of the email. A good email should only be three paragraphs or less.
    • Close with a signature:Identify yourself by creating a signature block for your email. Make sure to list your company title and any other relevant professional information.
    • Edit and proofread:Just because you are writing something that feels informal, like an email, you still need to edit and proofread before you hit “send.”
    • Never use all caps:All caps can be difficult to read for many people. All caps also may make your message appear as if you are angry or trying to emphasize every word in the message.
    • Large files? Email early:If you have to send a large file, such as a proposal or other larger document, email your attachment as early as you can. Realize it will take your recipient time to read your attached document.
    • Reply promptly:Email is meant to be a quicker way to communicate, so it is important you respond promptly. A good rule of thumb for most people is to respond to an email within 48 or 72 hours.
    • Never send an emotional response: Even though email is meant to be responded to promptly, never send out an angry or emotional response. If you feel emotional about an email, give it some time before you respond. You could even send a message stating that you will respond within a particular length of time.
    • Use reply-all sparingly:Do not send your email to everyone who originally received the email unless it is information that should be shared with everyone.
    • Give feedback or follow-up:Allow time for follow up, but if you do not receive a response in a couple days it may be all right to call the recipient. Messages may be placed in a Spam folder by mistake.

    2.4: Email is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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