Writing a professional email - for work or any other reasons - could be a hard thing to learn. It’s something which can come easy for experienced IT professionals, but if you haven't any experience with crafting professional emails, or if you’re just starting a career, it’s a thing you’ll need to learn.

Setting Up The Email Structure

Before we get to how to start a professional email, the shape of the email needs to be taken into account.

The email should have three components - the greeting, the email body, and the signature. The email body ought to be written in a professional manner, but that’s not the main topic of this post. Make sure that you be placing a signature at the end of your emails - this is to indicate who you are, along with where you’re from. It also causes you to look more professional.

How To Start The Professional Email

Beginning an email is crucial as it’s the first thing the recipient sees when opening the email. The initial step is to add the recipient to the email - using their email address.

The next task is to greet the person in the first line of the email. The best ways to do this are:

Hello name,
Hi name,
Dear name.

Begin with either Hello, Hi or Dear. Dear is acceptable as it hails from the old-fashioned way of communicating - letters. At the top of letters, it was typical to address the other person as “Dear name”.

Where I’ve mentioned "name", that can be substituted with either their first name, title and surname, or full name, including:
John
Mr Smith
John Smith
When you’ve put in their name, place a comma and proceed to the next line. Don’t begin the email right after that - include a line break, or even two, in between. This would improve the readability of the email.

What If I Don’t Know Their Name?

There is a good chance you won’t know the recipient of the email. If you’ve just been offered an email address with part of their name, that will restrict what greeting you can use. Alternatively, if you’ve received a generic email address, like “support@company.com”, you very well may not even have a name at all!

In cases like this, I would advise using what you can. When you've got a first name, then use that (such as “Dear John”). In case you don’t have a name at all, you could merely use “Hello”.

How To Address Multiple Recipients

The greeting would have to be adjusted if you’re sending an email to multiple recipients (more than one person). You can use greetings including:

Hi name 1, name 2,
Hello name 1, name 2,
Dear name 1, name 2,
Hello all,
Hi all,

It’s similar to a single recipient email, except you can address people individually or using the word “all”. If you address them individually, it might be something like “Dear John, Peter” or “Hello Mr Smith, Mr Jones,”.

One important thing I would suggest is if you reference the people individually, don’t mix and match the way you greet them. As an example, if you use the title and surname of the first person, use the same technique for all. Using a greeting such as “Dear Mr Smith, Peter” or “Hello John, Peter Jones” doesn’t look as professional since it is inconsistent.

I hope this answers your query of how to start a professional email. It gets much easier in time and after you’ve got a bit of experience with it!

Author's Bio: 

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