How do you write a proper email?

The general guidelines for writing an email are similar to writing a letter, and contains many of the same elements. Writing a clear subject line, greeting, closing, and having well organized body paragraphs and using proper grammar and spelling are necessary to the formation of a proper business email.

If any of the above are not well-executed, you may lose credibility and people may misunderstand your message and delete your email after reading a sentence or two. Others may find your email plain rude, especially if you elect to use all caps to get your message across. Although tone can be tough to decipher in written word, being mindful of the language you use in your emails is good practice.

Without further ado, here are 7 steps to writing a good business email:

1. Clearly and simply state your subject in the subject line. You know the old tome KISS; “keep it simple, stupid,” and have likely heard it more than once in your professional and probably your personal life as well. When it comes to your subject, try to keep it to just a few words, and continue the thought when you get to the body of your email.

For example, if you are addressing co-workers about a group project, say something like, “XYZ Project”, instead of “Graphic design team! -XYZ project needs better theme” …etc. Save the details for the email.

2. Use a standard font that is not hard to read. You may think that cursive font is pretty, but it can be very hard for other people to read. Save the cursive for handwritten letters or greetings, and not for business emails. Some examples of easy-to-read font to use instead are: Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial and Helvetica.

3. Formally address your recipient. Unless you know your recipient well and are in cordial contact with them regularly, use Mr./Ms./Mrs. when referring to a colleague, and use their last name to be polite and professional.

4. Structure your message clearly to avoid confusion. Do your best to keep your email short and omit huge blocks of text. Large blocks of text can make reading the email difficult, causing your reader to misunderstand the email or to “lose” their place in your email and have to re-read it again.

If the email has to be long, try to break up the text every few sentences to improve readability. Use plain formatting and space out your sentences and paragraphs and your email will be easier on the eyes of your recipient and less likely to be caught in their spam folder or quickly deleted.

5. Provide a “Call to Action” at the end to inform your recipient what you would like them to do next. When writing the conclusion of your email, let your recipient know what you would like them to do. For example, if you’re sending out a request for volunteers to sign up for an event, or you need to figure out everyone’s schedules for a meeting, let them know the next steps you’d like them to take, such as letting “so and so” know, or offering a resource for them to check out or schedule themselves on.

6. Include a professional closing. Finish up your email with a polite closing, such as “thank you,” or “sincerely.” Include your full name at the bottom that includes your position and any essential contact information your recipients may need to follow up with you in regards to your email.

7. Proofread and edit your email carefully. Re-read your message before you send it to make sure it sounds and looks good. Be sure to check for any grammatical or spelling errors and if you added an attachment and have referred to it in the body of your email, verify that you did attach it and it wasn’t forgotten as this happens frequently. If the email is of upmost importance or being sent to a formal party, consider having a co-worker look over it to double check that it sounds and looks good.

 If you would like to learn more about the proper email eitiquette, check out this resource by