Writing a professional email – for work or other reasons – can be a hard thing to learn. It’s something that may come easy for seasoned IT professionals, but if you have no experience with writing professional emails, or if you’re just starting your career, it’s something you’ll need to learn.
Setting Up The Email Structure
Before we get to how to start a professional email, the structure of the email needs to be considered.
The email should have three parts – the greeting, the email body, and the signature. The email body should be written in a professional manner, but that’s not the topic of this article. You should also be putting a signature at the bottom of your emails – this is to indicate who you are, as well as where you’re from. It also makes you look more professional.
How To Start The Professional Email
Starting an email is important as it’s the first thing the recipient sees when opening the email. The first step is to add the recipient to the email – using their email address.
The next step is to greet the person in the first line of the email. The best ways to do this are:
- Hello <name>,
- Hi <name>,
- Dear <name>.
Start with either Hello, Hi or Dear. Dear is acceptable as it comes from the old-fashioned way of communicating – letters. At the top of letters, it was common to address the other person as “Dear <name>”.
Where I’ve mentioned <name>, that can be replaced with either their first name, title and surname, or full name, such as:
- Mr Smith
- John Smith
Once you’ve put in their name, put a comma and go to the next line. Don’t start the email immediately after that – add a line break, or even two, in between. This will improve the readability of the email.
What If I Don’t Know Their Name?
There is a fair chance you won’t know the recipient of the email. If you’ve just been given an email address with part of their name, this will restrict what greeting you can use. Alternatively, if you’ve been given a generic email address, such as “email@example.com”, then you may not even have a name at all!
In this situation, I would suggest using what you can. If you have a first name, then use that (such as “Dear John”). If you don’t have a name at all, you could just simply use “Hello”.
How To Address Multiple Recipients
The greeting would need to be adjusted if you’re sending an email to multiple recipients (more than one person). You can use greetings such as:
- Hi <name 1>, <name 2>,
- Hello <name 1>, <name 2>,
- Dear <name 1>, <name 2>,
- Hello all,
- Hi all,
It’s similar to a single recipient email, except you can either address people individually or using the word “all”. If you address them individually, it would be something like “Dear John, Peter” or “Hello Mr Smith, Mr Jones,”.
One thing I would suggest is if you refer to the people individually, don’t mix and match the way you greet them. For example, if you use the title and surname of the first person, use the same method for all. Using a greeting such as “Dear Mr Smith, Peter” or “Hello John, Peter Jones” doesn’t look as professional because it is inconsistent.
Hopefully this answers your question of how to start a professional email. It gets easier in time and after you’ve got some experience with it!
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