Learning the 7 ways to start an email and 7 to avoid can mean the difference between a response and complete radio silence. Here are ways to start an email, along with ways to avoid starting your email. Which one will work best for you?
It depends on who your audience is and what you want to achieve. But no matter which tactic you choose, make sure it’s engaging, relevant, and interesting. Otherwise, you’ll lose your reader before you’ve even had a chance to say hello.
1. Get straight to the point
You know the feeling. You’re about to email someone important. Maybe it’s a prospect, or your boss, or a VIP customer. You sit down at your computer, ready to type… and then you freeze. What should you say? How can you make sure you don’t sound like an idiot?
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter how you start your email, as long as you get straight to the point. The best way to start an email is with a clear purpose in mind. What do you want to achieve with this email? Once you know that, it’s just a matter of figuring out the best way to say it. So go ahead and hit “send” – chances are, your email will be just fine.
2. Introduce yourself
The best way to start an email is by introducing yourself. Whether you’re writing to a potential client or customer, or reaching out to a colleague or business associate, it’s important to make a good first impression. A brief, polite introduction will help to set the tone for the rest of the email and encourage the recipient to keep reading. When introducing yourself, be sure to include your name, job title, and company.
You may also want to mention how you know the recipient, or what prompted you to write. For example, “I’m Seth Godin, author of ‘The Icarus Deception.’ I recently read your blog post about self-promotion and thought you might be interested in my book.” With a few well-chosen words, you can make a strong impression and encourage the recipient to keep reading.
3. Thank the recipient for their time
A lot of people take the time to write a long, thoughtful email and then they ruin it with a terrible subject line. The best way to get someone to actually read your email is to start with a good subject line. But what makes a good subject line? A good subject line should be specific, focus on one thing, and be interesting. “Thank you for your time” is none of those things.
If you’re going to take the time to write an email, make sure it’s worth the recipient’s time by starting with a good subject line.
4. Make your request clear and concise
The best way to start an email is by making your request clear and concise. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people try to beat around the bush or make small talk before getting to the point. Not only does this come across as insincere, but it also wastes the recipient’s time.
Keep in mind that people are typically very busy, so it’s important to get to the point quickly. State your request clearly and explain why it’s important. If you can do this in the opening sentence, even better. Then, provide any additional information that might be helpful in understanding your request. By keeping your email focused and concise, you’ll increase the chances of getting a positive response.
5. State the deadline for their response
One way to start an email is by stating the deadline for their response. This establishes a sense of urgency and importance from the outset. It also let’s the recipient know that you value their time and expect a prompt reply. Of course, this approach isn’t appropriate for every situation. But if you need a quick response to a time-sensitive issue, it can be an effective way to get the recipient’s attention.
6. Check for understanding
There’s no question that email is an essential tool for business communication. But with so many messages flying back and forth each day, it can be easy to make a few simple mistakes that can cost you dearly in terms of time, energy, and credibility.
One of the most important things to do when sending an email is to make sure that you understand the recipient’s needs and goals. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often people send emails without taking this crucial step. Starting an email with a clear understanding of what the recipient wants will help you craft a message that is more likely to get a positive response.
7. End with a courteous goodbye
Email is a form of written communication that has been around for over four decades. Unlike other forms of written communication, such as letters and memos, email is immediate and can be sent to multiple people at once. Because of its informality, email has become the preferred mode of communication for many business and personal interactions. However, there are still some basic etiquette rules that should be followed when sending an email.
One of these is to end the email with a courteous goodbye. This shows that you are polite and respectful, and it also helps to create a sense of closure. Additionally, a courteous goodbye can also help to set the tone for future interactions. So, whether you are sending an email to a colleague or a loved one, always remember to end with a courteous goodbye.
What to Avoid in your Emails
When you’re about to send an email, ask yourself these four questions:
- What’s the purpose of this email?
- Who is the audience?
- What are the consequences of sending this email?
- How can I make this email better?
If you can’t answer all four of these questions with confidence, hit the delete button and start over. Too often, we send emails without thinking about what we’re trying to achieve or who we’re trying to reach. As a result, our messages are often confused, rambling, and ineffective. It doesn’t have to be – here are the following ways to avoid when working on your emails:
1. Don’t be vague
Emails are a vital form of communication, both in our personal and professional lives. And yet, too often, they are also the source of frustration, misunderstanding, and even anger. Why is this? In many cases, it boils down to two simple words: be vague.
When we’re vague in our emails, we leave room for interpretation. And when the recipient of our message interprets it differently than we intended, that’s when problems arise. So how can we avoid being vague in our emails?
- Make sure you’re crystal clear about what you’re trying to say. If you’re unsure, take a few extra minutes to reread your email and edit it for clarity.
- Avoid phrases like “I think” or “I feel.” These qualifiers open the door for interpretation and can make it sound like you’re not confident in what you’re saying.
- Be specific. The more details you can provide, the less likely it is that your message will be misinterpreted.
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your emails are clear, concise, and effective.
2. Don’t be presumptuous
When you’re corresponding with somebody by email, it’s important to remember that there’s a good chance they don’t know you very well (or at all). As a result, it’s important to avoid being presumptuous in your messages. This means avoiding phrases like
- “I’m sure you’re busy, but…,”
- “I’m sorry to bother you, but…”
These phrases immediately put the recipient on the defensive, and make it less likely that they’ll want to help you. Instead, try to be direct and concise in your requests. For example, instead of starting your message with an apology, simply state what you need: “Can you help me with…?” By being respectful and straightforward, you’ll increase the chances that the person you’re emailing will be willing to help you.
3. Don’t use all caps
When you use all caps in an email, it’s like you’re shouting. And nobody likes to be shouted at. It’s the online equivalent of raising your voice, and it’s equally as annoying. So next time you’re about to hit the “all caps” button, ask yourself if that’s really the message you want to send. Chances are, it’s not.
4. Don’t overuse exclamation points
As any experienced emailer knows, the exclamation point is a powerful tool. Used judiciously, it can convey excitement, urgency or even humor. However, overuse of the exclamation point can quickly become annoying, and it can make the sender seem unprofessional or even hostile.
In general, it’s best to limit the use of exclamation points to one or two per message. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and omit the exclamation point altogether. Remember, an email is not a text message, and it’s important to maintain a level of decorum when communicating with colleagues, clients or customers.
By using exclamation points sparingly, you can avoid coming across as overly enthusiastic – or worse, like someone who is yelling at the recipient.
5. Don’t be too familiar
When you’re emailing someone you don’t know very well, it’s important to err on the side of formality. That means using a professional email signature, avoiding emoticons and exclamation points, and refraining from using first names until you’re sure it’s okay.
It can be tempting to try to establish a rapport with someone by being overly familiar, but this can backfire and come across as unprofessional or even rude. If you’re not sure how formal to be, err on the side of caution and err on the side of formality. Your recipient will appreciate your professionalism, and you’ll avoid any awkwardness or misunderstanding.
6. Don’t use textspeak
In a world where we’re all assaulted by too much information, it’s tempting to use textspeak in our email communications in order to save time. However, there are several good reasons to avoid this abbreviated form of communication.
- It’s often difficult to understand. When you’re trying to convey a complex idea, you need to be as clear as possible. Textspeak can easily lead to misunderstandings.
- It conveys a lack of respect for the recipient. You wouldn’t dream of speaking to your boss or a client in textspeak, so why would you use it in an email?
- It makes you look unprofessional. Whether you’re communicating with a colleague or customer, using proper grammar and spelling shows that you take your relationship seriously.
In the end, taking the time to write a well-crafted email is always worth the effort.
7. Don’t forget to proofread
It’s amazing how many people forget to proofread their emails before sending them. Whether you’re sending a quick note to a friend or a more formal message to a business associate, it’s important to take the time to make sure your email is free of spelling and grammar errors. After all, first impressions count, and you don’t want to give the impression that you’re careless or sloppy.
Fortunately, avoiding common email pitfalls is relatively easy. Just take a few minutes to proofread your message before hitting the send button. Pay attention to small details like subject lines and salutations, as well as the body of your email. If you’re not sure about something, ask a friend or colleague for help. With a little effort, you can make sure your emails are error-free and professional.
By taking a moment to consider your purpose, audience, and potential consequences, you can ensure that your emails are clear, concise, and likely to get the results you want.
How to End an Email
The best way to end an email is with a clear and concise call to action. If you’ve taken the time to write an email, you want the recipient to do something as a result. Whether it’s clicking on a link, signing up for a newsletter, or making a purchase, your call to action should be obvious.
At the same time, don’t be too pushy or sales-y in your language. Be polite and let the recipient know that you appreciate their time. Thank them for reading and consider adding a personal touch, such as a handwritten signature. With a little thought and care, you can ensure that your emails always end on a high note.
In the end, taking the time to write a well-crafted email is always worth the effort. By following these simple tips, you can avoid common email pitfalls and make sure your messages are clear, concise, and professional. So the next time you sit down to write an email, keep these seven tips in mind and you’ll be sure to make a great impression.
1. When starting an email, you can usually begin with “Hello,” “Hi,” or the name of the person you are writing to.
2. You can also start with a question or a statement.
3. Avoid beginning an email with “Dear Customer” or anything that sounds too formal.
You can also avoid beginning an email with “To whom it may concern.”
Avoid beginning an email with “Urgent!” or “Important!”
You can usually use a sentence or two to introduce yourself before getting to the point of the email.
When ending an email, you can use “Sincerely,” “Thank you,” or another closing phrase.
You can also use “Best,” “Regards,” or “Thank you for your time.”
Avoid using “unsubscribe” or any other word that sounds like you’re trying to sell something.
You can also avoid ending an email with “Talk to you soon.”