Handy list – How to start / write / reply professional emails
I have been working for past 5 years. During this tenure, I have worked in different offices. One thing is common everywhere. Emails! Although in some places we were encouraged to talk face to face or over the phone, in some places it was mandatory to keep everything on record. In some places we have to use emails because your colleagues are not in the same office, city or country. You also share different kinds of relations with different people across offices. You have a very different relation with your client altogether. So far, do you guys agree with me?
Emails are the most important and necessary means of communication in offices these days. Yet, we sometimes are either out of words or ideas. We are on emails all the time and still we do not have the confidence to reply to a certain few. How ironic! I have faced situations where the person sending the email has written it so well that I became unsure of how I should reply. How much is too much? How less is too less? How much is just right?
Whether you are writing to your immediate supervisor, your colleague, or your ultimate boss, your mail goal is to send the message in a way that the recipient will understand it the way you want them to. Incorrect grammar or language or tone of message can ruin your impression. To avoid such mistakes you may want to do a spell check and grammar check on your email before you send it.
In this article, I am attempting to collate different kinds of emails that you may get on a day to day basis and how you can correctly reply to them. This is not about whether you should be replying formally or informally. Take a call depending on how your relationship with the person is. I will not confuse you with distinct options. These are professional emails and might help you get out of ‘How do I reply to this?’ or ‘How do I start this email?’ situation. If you find it helpful, bookmark it and use it when you find the need to.
Why are you writing this email?
- With reference to our previous conversation, I would like to let you know that……
- With reference to our telephonic conversation, I would like to inform you / let you know that….
- Thank you for your email regarding the changes in… / modification in the scope of work. Here are some points I think we should look at before we start the job.
- I am writing to make a reservation/ make an appointment/ to confirm my booking / to confirm our meeting today/ to apply for the position of… / to enquire about the recent developments.
- Just a quick note. I wish to invite you to this seminar….
- This an invite to join us in the team building activity
- Hope you are doing well today. I just want to let you know..
- I heard you are not keeping well and have not come to office. I just wanted to inform you about the latest changes in the scope of work….. Hope you feel better soon. Shall get in touch with you when you are back.
Emailing a person who is not in constant touch with you
- Hope this email finds you well
- Hope this email finds you in good health
- Hope you had a great weekend
- Heard you gave a lecture at ABC recently. Hope that went well
- I hope you are enjoying the season
- I hope you are enjoying your stay at ABC
- I trust you all are doing fine
- I trust you are doing well
Ask for some information or making a request
- Could you please let me know if you are attending the conference today?
- Could you please let me know if you will be available tomorrow for a short meeting?
- Could you possibly fix a meeting with the finance team?
- Could you possibly help me arrange a meeting with your Manager?
- I would appreciate if you could please reply before 23rd August
- Please let me know how much the whole arrangement is going to cost us
- This sounds great. Do let me know what I am supposed to inform the dealers
- That is not what I hoped for. What should I tell my manager?
- I would also like to know if you will provide transport facility to and from the venue for the conference.
- I read your email. I was wondering if you could come and see me next week.
- There is a slight change in the schedule. Would you mind coming a little early to help us rearrange the presentation?
- Do you think you can connect me with John?
- Get back to me as soon as possible
A simple letter of acknowledgement
- Thank you for your inquiry about the new tools we are using to do the analysis. One of us will contact you tomorrow and give you a full detail on how we are using this tool.
Thank you again for writing to us.
- Thank you for checking in. I am glad that you are curious about the information on the report. Could you possibly let me know a good time to call you?
Looking forward to hear from you.
What is a good way to remind someone to reply to your email?
This could be a little tricky. Sometimes, some people are very busy and your email or your work is not a priority for them. Constant reminders or a rude tone can tick people off. Sometimes we are unaware that the recipient was not in town for a few days while we were waiting for their reply. When they come back and see rude emails they might not feel good about working on what you have sent. In some cases, it could be a genuine mistake that he/she missed your email.
We should always use a tone that suggests that you know how busy they are. Yet, you need to grab their attention.
- Hope this mail finds you in good health. I had sent you an email regarding…… a few days back. Have you had a chance to look at it yet?
- I was wondering if you have had a chance to look at the email attached below. (Mention why it is important. For eg: I would like to send Mr. X an update on this one today. OR Mr. X inquired about it today OR Mr. X needs it tomorrow for a meeting)
- Hope you had a good weekend. I had sent you an email on Saturday. Please let me know about this when you get the chance.
- We had sent you an invoice earlier this week. Please let us know about it when you get a chance. I understand you are busy with the new launch campaign. Hope it is going as per your expectations.
Sending some information or offering to help
- No problem. We are willing to arrange another meeting with the dealers.
- That won’t be necessary. We would be glad to send you another copy of the invoice if need be.
- I regret to inform that I won’t be able to attend your seminar tomorrow.
- I regret to inform you that I won’t be able to help you with this. You will have to speak with ……. I can connect you with him/her.
- I will surely be able to help you with that. Would you mind sending the file to me?
- Please do let me know if I can be of further assistance.
- Please do not hesitate to reach out to our team, should you need further information/ assistance.
Here is another tricky ‘How do I put this across?’ situation. Remember, even though you are complaining, you should use a tone that will no intimidate the recipient. You need them to acknowledge your dissatisfaction and work better towards fulfilling your wish. At the same time, you cannot be too soft; they need to know you are upset.
- I am writing to express my dissatisfaction regarding your service….
- I would like to know how you or your company can compensate for the loss we have incurred due to your negligence.
- I wish to receive a full refund and compensation for the damages done.
- I regret to inform you that I was not satisfied with your product.
- I regret to inform you that your product was defective when we received it today from the delivery boy. Please arrange for a replacement as soon as possible.
- I regret to inform you that your performance on this project was not satisfactory. Let us discuss on how you can improve upon you skills.
- I am sorry to say that you’re late with the project delivery. By when can we expect it?
- I hope you don’t mind me saying that the candidate you had recommended was not at all suitable for the job.
How to apologize without sounding desperate for forgiveness?
- We will make sure that this will not happen again in the future.
- I promise it won’t happen again
- I am afraid I will not be able to join you for this meeting. Please fill me in later.
- I am sorry, but I can’t make it to the meeting. Fill me in later? Thanks!
- Please let us know how we can compensate for your losses.
- Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay.
- I am really sorry for the delay
Attaching files – An alternative to boring PFA or ‘Attached with the mail’
- I am attaching my CV for your consideration
- I am attaching the time table for your perusal
- Could you send me the file in PDF, Word, Excel, PNG, JPEG……etc., format?
- I am afraid I am not able to open the attachment you sent me. Could you please send it again?
- Please find attached the file you requested
- I am sending you the art work as an attachment
- I can’t seem to open the attachment in my computer. May be you can send me the file in ______ format.
Respond to a critical email from your Boss
Ideally, it is best to not reply to a critical email by an email. It is difficult to gauge a person’s emotion via email. The matter might not be as severe as it seems while reading the email. It is easy to get into a trap of replying to the email too emotionally. Try and have a one-to-one conversation with your boss. You can also respond in a phone call. Do ask questions to clarify what he/she really meant and what he/she wants you to do about it. And if you can’t do both then what choice do we have left?
- I will get on with it right away.
- I have wanted to discuss the same with you for some time now. Can we have a meeting in an hour?
- I am sorry. It won’t happen again.
- I am sorry. I will get on with it as soon as I get the data from …..
- I have not been able to solve this on my own. I might need your help with this. I should have come to you earlier.
- I have not been able to focus on X project because of X2 project. I will get on with it asap.
- I understand your concern but I had mentioned earlier that I have been pulled into another project. Please do not worry. I will look into this matter as soon as possible.
Reply to an appreciation email
Some of us are experts in handing grievances and complaint emails but it can become a little awkward to respond to praise at work. It is even more difficult if you are not used to genuine appreciation from your boss.
- Thank you very much
- Thank you for recognizing my efforts
- Many thanks!
- Really grateful for the opportunity
- Really grateful for the support, guidance and encouragement
- Your appreciation means a lot to me.
- Thank you for your kind words
- Thank you very much. Rest assured that I will continue to do my best at work and support our team
- I received your email yesterday and I would like to sincerely thank you for your appreciation.
I hope you all find this handy. If you have any more suggestion or want to cover a situation that I have not covered already please do write in.