The articles in this section address how to write business email, helping you save time and maximize results.
Email has grown explosively over the last twenty years. So much so it’s hard to imagine what we did before email arrived. Does anyone remember fax machines?
The effect on business communication has been seismic. We now write more frequently, quickly and informally than ever before. But this has its problems as well.
Because it’s grown so quickly, there are no agreed standards or guidelines to follow. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they can apply the same criteria to business email as when emailing friends and family. So they write things in email they wouldn’t dream of putting in a letter or legal document.
The difference is that in business we are often communicating to strangers or superiors who expect us to be professional.
We want to be taken seriously, not to appear irresponsible, immature or sloppy. We need to find a balance between the stiff formality of traditional business English and the complete informality of social media.
In writing we can’t convey meaning through our tone of voice. Nor can we rely on body language: our posture, expressions and gestures.
Don’t underestimate these visual and audio cues. In a face-to-face conversation, the tone of our voice conveys 38% of our message and body language a whopping 55%. The words themselves contribute just 7%.
So treating email like an electronic conversation is potentially a big mistake.
To avoid the most common pitfalls, read five tips on how not to write business email.
The other problem with email is that it can take over your whole working life, to the exclusion of actually doing any real work. Click here for tips on how to manage email before it manages you.