How To Start an Email Professionally?

Starting an email professionally is crucial because it sets the tone for the entire message. This reference will guide you through the essential components of crafting a professional email, including the subject line, the recipient, the greeting, and getting straight to the point.

How To Start an Email

How to Start an Email
How to Start an Email – Created by 7ESL

The Subject Line

Before writing the email, the first step is to fill in the subject line. Keep it short and to the point. For example, if you are emailing a company about a missing order, use something like “Missing Order #(order number).” This helps the recipient know right away what the email is about.

Most of the time, subject lines should be 5-6 words or less to quickly tell the recipient what to expect. If there are specific rules for writing the email, such as those from a college professor, make sure to follow them. Professors often require the course title and your name in the subject line, and these guidelines are usually found in the course syllabus.

The Recipient

The next step is to think about who you are emailing. Make sure the person you are contacting has the right authority to address your issue. Once you have the right person, consider how you would speak to them if they were in front of you.

Be respectful and avoid using casual language like “uhm” or “uh.” Stay on topic, be courteous, and use proper grammar. Always double-check for spelling mistakes. Taking these steps ensures you are clear and professional. Remember, the person on the other end has taken time out of their day to read your email, so being respectful can help you get a better response.

The Greeting

The greeting, or salutation, is the first part of the email. If possible, know the name of the person you are emailing. If you don’t, you can use “To Whom It May Concern,” but try to avoid this if you can, as it can seem impersonal.

Common formal greetings include:

Use “Good morning/afternoon” and “Greetings” when writing to multiple recipients. If you are emailing someone in a higher position, use “Dear (Title/Name).” Reserve “Hello” and “Hi” for informal emails between colleagues or friends.

Cut to the Chase

After the greeting, get straight to the point. Start with a clear, brief opening. Examples include:

  • I am writing in regards to…
  • I am contacting you to inform you of…
  • I am writing to thank you for…

This helps the recipient understand the email quickly and reduces the chance of confusion.

Learn more about how to write an email and how to introduce yourself in an email.

Starting an Email Example

When starting an email, it’s essential to be clear and concise. Avoid extraneous information and focus on providing the necessary details. Here’s an example to demonstrate this aspect of writing an email:

Subject: 1 p.m. Meeting – Rescheduled to 2 p.m.

Dear Marie,

I am writing to inform you that today’s 1 p.m. meeting (what) has been rescheduled to 2 p.m. (when). Due to unforeseen circumstances (why), Mr. Smith (who) will be unavailable at the originally designated time. The meeting will still be held in room 300 (where) as originally planned.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Who: Identify the people involved.
  • What: Specify the subject or main point.
  • When: Mention the time or date.
  • Where: Include the location.
  • Why: Explain the reason if necessary.
  • How: Describe any process if relevant.

Using these key points helps make your email clear and ensures all necessary information is included without additional clutter. You can use different greetings depending on the level of formality required. Here are some examples:

  • Formal:
    • Dear Dr. Smith,
    • Dear Mr. Johnson,
  • Informal:
    • Hi Sarah,
    • Hello Tom,

Choosing the right greeting sets the tone for the rest of your email. Another aspect to keep in mind is the structure of the email. You may find bullet points helpful in organizing information, especially when listing key items, tasks, or points that need attention.

Properly structuring your email not only makes it easier to read but also reduces the chances of miscommunication. For formal communication, using the “Dear [Title] [Last Name]” approach is a safe choice. When addressing colleagues or friends, a simple “Hi [First Name]” is often sufficient.

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