How do you write e-mails? A few golden rules for the perfect business correspondence (and a bit of fun)

I’ve always loved drawing but then the passion for languages took over somehow and even though my Art teacher was all excited about the possibility my parents would agree to send me to an artistic high school, that never happened and… you know what I did instead.

Unfortunately, I was extremely good at reproducing still natures and portraits – pretty classic, in the end – but never put my back into comics.

Funny comic strips are the best, some can be so entertaining! And the Internet is an endless source of beautifully witty comics and, surprise surprise… based-on-true-story topics 🙂

The ones I am in love with right now are from The Oatmeal, a very cunning, extra funny website who will keep you entertained for hours and hours. I’ll go back to that in a sec. If you cannot wait, click here now!

But let’s keep on track… the title: how do you write e-mails?

E-mails are tricky, and especially in a business environment, good e-mail writing skills are certainly a plus.

The tone is of course more colloquial than a hard copy letter but still, scripta manent and when talking to clients, some of the golden rules are:

  • be polite – use the relevant Dear and Best regards, without being OTT though. Still, keeping in mind everybody likes a bit of nicety
  • always write a short subject – not a whole poem though, just the main point or a hint of the topic
  • always double-check the address before clicking ‘send’ – otherwise you’ll end up spending hours wondering why Mr. Smith didn’t get back to you just yet…
  • be careful with the CC – if you are a fan of mass e-mails, remember you may be invading other recipients’ privacy. The safest move? Go for the ‘mysterious’ but discreet enough BCC option
  • do not pack the e-mail body with bolds, CAPS or italics – even though in some cases these are useful to stress your point and
  • do not forget Caps and punctuation where required – so a good balance between this and the previous point
  • always have a clear, neat signature with your name, logo and so on (but make sure it is not too long or big, or people will go crazy looking for your telephone number…)
  • KISS (keep it short and simple or straightforward) yet professional – nobody likes an overwhelming amount of words in a random order or smileys all over the place
  • keep bullet point lists to a minimum (I think we are there now…) or you will come across as a bit too obsessed by order and A-Z lists ( = control freak?)

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Have a laugh at this http://theoatmeal.com/comics/email

Ciao ciao

Val

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About Val

London-based Rainy London Translations is offering a full range of top quality interpreting, localisation, translation, consultancy and voice-overservices for both businesses and individuals. Need something else? Just ask! It may sound like a cliché, but just get in touch: what you need can be done, at a reasonable price. Valeria is also offering a 'branding' clinic service, to help freelancers find their perfect business name or polish the existing identity by finding a logo, a tagline with sound creative consultancy. Based in the City of Westminster area, the heart of London, UK, since August 2011.

One response to “How do you write e-mails? A few golden rules for the perfect business correspondence (and a bit of fun)

  1. Valeria Aliperta

    Btw, just remembered this fabulous wecomic from the Oatmeal – about misspelling in English. I simply loved it and it’s worth reposting! http://theoatmeal.com/comics/misspelling

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