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Emails: sub-module 2 of 2 of under types of writing hub

Emails may be informal in personal contexts, but professional communication requires attention to detail, awareness that your email reflects you and your company, and a professional tone so that it may be forwarded to any third party if needed. Email is often used to exchange information within organizations. Although email may have an informal feel, remember that your emails need to convey professionalism and respect when you email in a business context.

Types of Professional Emails

There are multiple types of professional emails that you may need to send. Here are a few examples:

  • Emails to internal recipients: These are emails you send to people within your organization, such as colleagues or managers.
  • Emails to external recipients: These are emails to people outside of your organization, such as clients or other organizations with whom you are working. When you send these types of emails, you have to be aware that you are representing the company you work for.
  • Template messages and automatic replies: These are emails that get sent automatically or that are created from a standard set of messages. For example, some companies send automatic replies acknowledging communication. Because these types of emails are sent multiple times, it is especially important to ensure that they sound professional.
  • Emails to Professors: This isn’t an email you send in your workplace, but it is an email you send in a formal setting. In order to show repect, you should sound polite and professional in your emails to your professors.

Writing Business Emails

How to Write Business Emails

Emails in a business setting are different from other types of communication, and it’s important to know how to send polite and professional emails to make a good impression in the workplace. Watch the video and read the tips below to find out how to send business emails.

Guidelines and Strategies for Writing Emails in a Professional Setting

Include the following elements in your emails:

  • Open with a proper greeting.  Proper greetings demonstrate respect and avoid mix-ups if you accidentally send a message to the wrong recipient. Here are examples of appropriate greetings:
    • “Hello Ms. X” (external recipient)
    • “Hi Barry” (internal recipient)
    • “Hello Professor X” (professor)
    • “Good morning/good afternoon”
    • “Hello everyone” (email to a group)
  • Include a clear, brief, and specific subject line.  The subject line helps the recipient understand what the message is about. For example, “Proposal attached” or “Electrical specs for project Y.”
  • Close with an appropriate sign-off. A sign-off is a good way to politely end your email. Choose the appropriate sign-off for the situation. Here are some examples:
    • Regards, (good for formal emails)
    • Thanks, (good for showing appreciation)
    • Best wishes (good for formal yet friendly emails)
  • End with a signature.  Create a signature block that automatically contains your name and business contact information.

Follow these guidelines for a professional email style:

  • Leave out the LOL. An email is not a text message, so don’t write the same way you would when texting friends. Don’t say LOL, JK, TTYL, BRB, etc. or other informal acronyms and slang.
  • Be brief. The recipient of your email needs to see the important information quickly, so omit unnecessary words. Divide your message into short paragraphs for ease of reading. A good email should get to the point and conclude in three small paragraphs or fewer.
  • Avoid using all caps:  Capital letters are used on the Internet to communicate emphatic emotion or “yelling” and can be considered rude.

Follow these guidelines for appropriate email etiquette:

  • Reply promptly.  Watch out for an emotional response—never reply in anger—but make a habit of responding to all emails within twenty-four hours, even if only to say that you will provide the requested information in forty-eight or seventy-two hours.
  • Use “Reply All” sparingly.  Do not send your reply to everyone who received the initial email unless your message needs to be read by the entire group.
  • Follow up. If you don’t get a response in twenty-four hours, email or call. Spam filters may have intercepted your message, so your recipient may never have received it.

Follow these additional guidelines edit your email and add anything you’re missing:

  • Reread, revise, and review. Catch and correct spelling and grammar mistakes before you press “send.” It will take more time and effort to undo the problems caused by a hasty, poorly-written email than to take the time to get it right the first time.
  • Test links. If you include a link, test it to make sure it works.
  • Add the address of the recipient last. Add the recipient after you have written and proofread your message to avoid sending the email prematurely.
  • Let your recipient know to expect files. Audio and visual files are often quite large and may exceed the recipient’s mailbox limit or trigger the spam filter. Send just an email first so they can let you know if they don’t receive the email with the file.

The example email below demonstrates how to write an email that follows the guidelines for professional emails. Notice that this email includes the following elements:

  • A clear, brief subject line (Safe Zone Training)
  • A proper greeting (Dear colleagues)
  • Short, to-the-point paragraphs.
  • A sign-off (Regards, )
  • A signature

Example Email

From: Steve Jobs
To: Human Resources Division

Date: September 12, 2015
Subject: Safe Zone Training  


Dear Colleagues:

Please consider signing up for the next available Safe Zone workshop offered by the College. As you know, our department is working toward increasing the number of Safe Zone volunteers in our area, and I hope several of you may be available for the next workshop scheduled for Friday, October 9.  

For more information on the Safe Zone program, please visit

Please let me know if you will attend.



Steve Jobs
CEO Apple Computing