1. Choose an appropriate subject line.
The subject line is the most important part of your email as it decides whether the recipient is going to read your mail or not. Keep your subject line short and make sure that it states the purpose of your email clearly.
2. Start the email with a proper salutation.
Your email should open by addressing the person you’re writing to. You surely can get away with dropping the salutation when you are writing a mail to your friend, but for business purposes it is advisable to use:
- Dear Mr. X, or Dear Sir, (for someone you don’t know well)
- Hi X, or Hello X, (if you have a working relationship with the person)
3. Write in short paragraphs
People often waste time beating round the bush and write lengthy paragraphs in an email. Keep your email short, concise and ideally between two to four paras.
Consider using bullet points for extra clarity, perhaps if you are:
- Explaining the steps of a procedure
- Suggesting a list of solutions for a problem
- Listing out a set of questions for the recipient to answer
4. Use capitals and punctuation properly
Make sure that you use the proper punctuation in your email as you do in all other forms of writing.
- Always start a sentence with a capital letter
- Remember to captialise all acronyms and abbreviations
- Always capitalize “I” and first letter of proper nouns (names)
- Avoid internet shortened spellings
- Understand the usage of commas and semicolons. Aman Anand’s answer to Creative Writing: Should fiction writers avoid using semicolons?
5. Sign off your email
For short internal company emails, you can get away with just writing your name. If you’re writing a formal email then
- Use Yours sincerely, (when you know the name of your addressee) and Yours faithfully, (when you’ve addressed it to “Dear Sir/Madam”) for very formal emails such as job applications.
- Use Regards, Kind regards, Best in all other formal situations.
- Use Cheers and other informal signing off notes when you share a nice rapport with the recipient.
6. Use an appropriate email signature
Keep it at the most to 3 lines. You can include your name if you want and one URL, but not three. No dividers and no logos. Keep it simple and efficient.