Business English Emails

Whether on the trans Jakarta, in a taxi or sat in a coffee shop somewhere, everyone seems to be glued to their phone. The kids will be playing games, the teenagers sharing jokes and for us sending numerous emails to clients, suppliers, colleagues and staff.

But we have to be careful with the language we use sometimes in business emails. Here are the most common mistakes:

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  • The greeting is inappropriate. The greeting needs to match the relationship you have with that person. Hi (Name), or Dear (Name), is sufficient for a boss or a client.
  • Getting to the point too quickly. Just like business meetings, recipients expect a line or two of small talk before the reason for the email. ‘I hope you had a nice weekend. How is the new project coming along?’ is an acceptable introduction to an email.
  • No organization. It is rude to waste someone’s time, and emails are no different. You need to organize what you are going to say concisely, bullet points and using the active voice are great contributors of this.
  • No follow-up. So you open your email with some small talk and address the person properly, you get your points across well but what is next. Emails, like meeting, need to be purposeful, what is going to change after and how do you expect that person to do it, is a key summary at the end of your email. It doesn’t have to be long-winded. ‘Let’s touch base next week.’ or ‘Please follow up by phone to see if they are interested,’ are great.

Hope you find these useful and share your own tips.