In a business setting, it’s a must to send emails that can be clearly understood and come across as respectful. Doing so helps you earn the trust of both your colleagues and your clients. It also prevents misunderstandings and reduces the time spent by the recipient reviewing your messages, thereby improving productivity and efficiency. More importantly, it can help maintain healthy professional relationships. As such, it’s crucial to set the right tone when writing business emails.

Because you aren’t talking to someone in person, you can’t rely on the different visual, physical, and audio cues when sending an email. Instead, you have to ensure clarity through your choice of words, the structure of your sentences, and how you present relevant information. Some organizations use templates for a uniform approach. For example, brokerage companies find recruiting real estate agents scripts helpful. They use these templates and customize them accordingly when reaching out to talented real estate professionals.

If you want to set the right tone with all your business email correspondence, you need to be mindful of these key elements. Consider these writing tips the next time you compose a business email.

Identify Your Relationship with the Recipient

As you craft a business email, remember to be mindful of your target audience. Whether you’re sending the email to a client, your boss, your colleagues, or a large number of recipients, it’s important to consider the kind of relationship you have with them. If you’re sending an email to an acquaintance, communicate with them in a professional tone. This is an appropriate approach when you reach out to someone you haven’t met. Address the recipient using their last name, such as “Mr. Parker” or Ms. Johnson,” rather than their first name.

If you have a more familiar relationship with the email recipient, you can be a bit more casual in your tone. For example, you can start the email with “Hi, (their name)” and end the message with, “Have a great week ahead.” While these are friendlier and more informal, the tone remains respectful.

Use Words Carefully

Be careful of the words you use in business emails. Even if you’re sending an email to a long-time colleague, choose to be polite and sincere. Also, being courteous is always a great way to start a well-written and easy-to-understand email.

Additionally, refrain from using any discriminatory language. Always communicate with everyone with respect. Even if you can be more casual with words, be mindful of your language. Make sure you don’t show any bias or use offensive remarks.

Communicate Important Information First

It’s important to clearly express your message in each email you send. As such, be direct and communicate all the important information early on. Avoid being vague or beating around the bush, as this might create confusion for the recipient.

If the important message involves negative news, you still need to mention it first. Whether you’re letting someone know of a rejected application or a reduction in funding, you need to lead with information. It will create a more honest tone compared to burying the bad news somewhere in the middle or end of the email. Also, the recipient may miss or misinterpret the importance of the negative news if you hide it within the email.

The key to delivering bad news is to remain respectful. Express that you’re sympathetic before you say what you have to say.

Use the Active Voice

Another way you can ensure a clear and direct tone in your emails is by using an active voice. It’s simpler and allows the recipient to easily identify who and what the message is referring to, avoiding any confusion. If you use the passive voice, the tone of the email might become complicated and difficult to understand.

For example, it’s easier to understand a statement like “We will gladly provide the resources you need once the foundation approves your proposal”, than its passive voice counterpart, “Your required resources will be provided as soon as your proposal has been approved.” In the first statement, you can quickly tell who will provide the resources and who will approve the proposal. But in the passive voice construction, it’s more difficult to tell who does what.

Write in the First-Person Point of View

In relation to using the active voice, write your business emails from the first-person point of view. This means using pronouns according to your own perspective, such as “I” and “we,” when referring to yourself or your organization. Also, use “you” when referring to the recipient. It’s more direct and very easy to understand.

Mastering your tone when writing business emails is very important, because this ensures clear and efficient communications. Choosing your words carefully also helps you remain respectful in all your email correspondence. If you want to improve your business email writing, consider the above-mentioned tips. They can help avoid misunderstandings and create strong professional relationships even if you aren’t talking face-to-face with the recipient.