Monday,23 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1269, (5 - 11 November 2015)
Monday,23 October, 2017
Issue 1269, (5 - 11 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Entre Nous: The perfect business e-mail

Let’s talk about better living! Our new interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers

E-mails are a powerful tool to reach out to new business prospects. That’s why the way you craft your e-mail could be crucial for reaching new career heights and creating a positive working relationship.

It is important to recognise that a formal e-mail should be effective and thoughtful enough to start or build a working relationship. Your words should be chosen well, reflecting clarity and purpose, in order to get you the desired response. If you choose rude and empty words, your email will be met with silence or prompt a disappointing response.

To make your business writing more effective, try to avoid these deadly words and phrases in your formal letters and e-mails:

‘Kindly’
Rarely used in formal letters. Use “please” rather than this old-fashioned word.
“I am forwarding” or “I have forwarded”: In e-mail, “forwarding” means sending materials from someone other than the writer to the reader. Be specific and use the word “send” instead of using a variation on the word “forward.”

‘Please do not hesitate to contact me’
The word “hesitate” was bright when it was coined and used almost a half-century ago to offer a light or soft touch to your request. But now, like most clichés, it has paid a price for its popularity. By using a cliché in your email, you come across as unoriginal and disingenuous. Be personal with your words and use something like “please call me” or “send me an e-mail,” which is still polite but isn’t clichéd.

‘Respectfully’
This closing sounds negative. It doesn’t really soften the position and adds an overly formal, sombre tone to your email.

‘I thought I should reach out’
People like to be indirect and express themselves in a soft tone to get what they want. But this supposedly soft approach doesn’t make you sound direct or active. Be clear with your words. Being direct and clear could get you the reply you want. Express the action you are asking the recipient to make rather than say that you are trying to reach out to him.

‘Please note that’
Though this phrase may seem polite and innocent, it’s actually passive and has a rather schoolmarmish tone. Using a phrase like “be advised” shows that you are more assertive, proactive, and professional.

‘Yours truly,’ ‘sincerely yours,’ or ‘truly yours’
You are not theirs. These closings are antiquated and not consistent with our digital age. Even when you know the person already, you don’t have to bring such familiarity to a formal email. Instead use words like “faithfully” or “regards”. Even this should be done with caution and according to the situation and relationship.

‘I hope you are well’
The word “hope” doesn’t have any place in a formal email. Instead, get to the point quickly and show that you respect the recipient’s time.

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