Do you want to be a standout as a business e-mail writer? To enhance your career, it’s important to write effective e-mails and memos.

You don’t have to be an English major to write effectively.

This article is designed to cover the most salient points of better e-mail writing. You are encouraged to research any of the following topics if you need a further explanation.

Use these basic tips:

1. Review your goal. What do you want to accomplish? Your writing should be focused. If you want someone to act, you need a call for action.

2. Don’t leave the recipients guessing. Summarize your objective in the first paragraph. Include the topic in the subject line. In this way, busy persons will know instantly why you’re writing to them.

3. Use an economy of words. Most memos and e-mails will be read and more easily understood if you keep them short.  Don’t use unnecessary words. In most sentences you can avoid the use of the word “that.”

Ideal content is a maximum of three short paragraphs — no more than two or three sentences each. If it’s a complex subject, include an attachment.

An example to use an economy of words: Instead of writing “our appointment that we scheduled for January 2nd,” simply write “our January 2nd appointment.”

4. Limit your use of prepositions. Regarding point No. 3 on wordiness, know that prepositions aren’t always necessary. A preposition begins prepositional phrases. It links nouns, phrases and pronouns to other words in a sentence to introduce the preposition’s object.

Don’t insert prepositions following a verb, for example, “where did he go to?” It’s correct to write “where did he go?”

Also, never end a sentence with a preposition, such as “the car has been lost track of.” It’s correct to write “lost track of the car.” Again, prepositions are correctly used in prepositional phrases.

5. Be specific in your adjectives and descriptions. Avoid using vague words or phrases, such as “that is incredible.” Your reader might get the wrong impression.

For example, by using the phrase “that is incredible,” do you mean “that is outstanding” or “that is undesirable?”

6. When plausible, come across as dynamic as possible. Use active verbs. Try to avoid using past tense, such as “she believed” instead of “she believes.”

7. Be authentic in your writing. Avoid using the latest buzz phrases just to be ostentatious or hip.

Over the last several generations in business, succeeding generations have used different phrases as glittering generalities to describe the same concepts. That doesn’t mean, however, you should “dumb down” your writing. A good vocabulary is to be respected.

8. Show maturity by not using exclamation points. They should be rarely, if ever, used in business communications.

9. Be careful in your use of punctuation marks in quotations. For example, commas and periods should be inserted outside the quotation mark. (In case you’re wondering, this portal’s articles are written in journalistic style, which is why punctuations are inside the quotes.)

10. Review your writing before sending an e-mail. Read your content out loud to catch errors. Other than typos, the most frequent errors are missing words.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more writing tips:

25 Best Practices for Better Business Writing — If you want to accelerate your career or turbo-charge your business, one of your priorities should be good communication. Good writing is necessary in a myriad of ways, including letters, advertising copy and presentations. 

11 Best Practices to Profit from Writing a Business White Paper — When you’re writing a case study for a client or you’re commissioned to write a white paper – there are best practices — then, there are only attempts at shameless promotion of a biased idea.  

Rock in Your Marketing Messages with 5 Writing Tips — In this digital age of consumer overload, words are powerful – if they’re used strategically. The challenge is to help your prospective customers quickly understand your message.  

Secrets for Attracting, Keeping Readers on Your Blog — Content marketing is a valuable tool, but only if you observe best practices in substance and style – writing the most intriguing headlines and most relevant copy.  

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

-Mark Twain


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.