Email is a part of just about everyone’s daily life. No matter your job, you probably have to communicate by email. And, even though it’s a fast and convenient method of communication, email has plenty of drawbacks. If you’re not careful, you can miscommunicate and cause problems in the workplace. That’s why it’s important to learn the secrets of mastering email!

How to Write a Great Email

Aside from the “To” field, an email has two main parts: the subject line, and the body.

The Subject

Let’s focus on the subject line first. It’s the first thing a person sees when your email message pops into their inbox. ALWAYS use the subject line, and make it meaningful! The subject is what alerts the recipient to the content of the email. Make it accurate. If you’re sending a message about a coworker’s birthday or if you’re sending the person a document that they had requested, make sure to label the email with a corresponding subject line.

Make it short, but detailed. So, if it’s a coworker’s birthday, you could say “John’s Birthday Friday – Bring Treats!” That way, they can read it at a glance, but they still know the who, what, and when of the situation.

The Body

The body of the message allows you to go into more detail than the subject, but still, keep it short and readable. Get to the point, be as formal or casual as the relationship dictates, and make sure to proofread before sending!

Greeting: The body of your email should start with a greeting (which can be anything from “Dear (their name)” to “Hey, hope you had a great weekend!”

Main Body: Then, get to the point. Include everything you need to include, but try to keep it concise for readability’s sake. We’re all busy—we don’t want to read long, rambling emails.

Conclusion: Then, conclude the email with a quick call to action reminding the person to do whatever you need them to do (i.e. send you a document, let you know when they’re available to meet, or whatever the purpose of the email was).

Signature: End with a nice comment like “See you tomorrow” or “Let me know if you have any questions,” and make sure to include your signature if you don’t already have a built-in signature at the bottom of your email. It doesn’t have to be super formal! Again, you can judge the formalness or casualness of the relationship with your recipient and use that to dictate your wording.

The #1 Tip for Mastering Email

If you can only remember one thing from this article, remember this tip. The secret to writing a great email is to do everything with your recipient in mind. Put yourself in their shoes! How can you make their life easier? How can you make sure they don’t get confused or overwhelmed by your message? How can you be sure that they answer your questions or respond appropriately?

Read over your draft and think “Will they understand this? Do I sound friendly? Is the main point of the email clear?” If you work in an international company and English isn’t your recipient’s first language, keep that in mind and make it very easy to understand. If you’re writing to someone who you know is very busy at the moment, keep it concise. If you always think about your recipient and tailor your email accordingly, you’ll get faster and better replies, strengthen your relationships, and become a more productive, effective email writer!