Writing Business Emails; Tips for ESL Students

Writing Business Emails; Tips for ESL Students

If you are an ESL student then you might benefit from tips on writing business emails. Knowing how to write a business email is an essential skill.

Importance of Tone in Business Emails

Breaking down the components of a business email can be a little daunting; however, once it is done it makes writing the email that much easier. If you never thought about writing business emails, reviewing some tips for ESL students will prove beneficial.

Most ESL students fall into one of two extremes when it comes to writing a business email. They are either too formal, and begin their emails with something to the effect of "Dear Sirs," or the ESL student has the habit of being too wordy.

It could be that many ESL students feel that an email is just an electronic version of a standard business letter. Or, it could be that to the average ESL student, Americans are too relaxed and less professional than they should be. Whatever the rationale, almost all ESL students need a crash course on writing a business email. Doing such will enable the reader of the email to take the ESL student more seriously as a business individual.


Business Email Length

A business email is, at its most general and generic form, a response email between parties who are doing business together. Most often business emails are exchanged between co-workers at a company. They are status updates and precursors to project proposals.

Usually the business emails which ESL students write are very short, very long or just too polite. In short, their business emails can lack the substance necessary for anyone to take them seriously as a business person.

Most times ESL students will find it difficult to complete a short business email that is aimed at answering the question of a client. There is often a disconnect between keeping the formality of a business letter and maintaining a short and to the point format that is the industry standard in American businesses.


Tips for ESL Students

ESL students should keep the following in mind when they are writing a business email:

  • A business email is short and not repetitious.
  • A business email is not formal - it does not use slang but it is not a formal business letter either.
  • Business emails are no longer than two paragraphs. Anything longer will not get read.
  • Contractions are appropriate.
  • Use relaxed salutations (for example "Hi Jack!")
  • Start with an introductory statement that is informal (for example "Just wanted to give you a heads up")
  • Provide a one sentence answer to a question that the recipient has asked or a question that you may have
  • Wrap it up by telling them to contact you or that you will contact them

Business Email Basics

ESL students should realize that the key to writing business emails is in keeping it short, sweet, informative yet professional. While the professional aim is not as rigorous as that of a formal business letter, you would want to avoid slang, make sure that spelling and grammar are appropriate and correct, and convey the message in which the email seeks to convey.

ESL students who are in need of assistance on boosting their business writing email skills can find an array of free resources online. YouTube offers three to five minute video lessons that cater to ESL students who are seeking to learn how to write business emails. Additionally, there are several websites which provide how-to articles for ESL students who need to brush up on their business email writing skills. If you do a search on either Google or Bing you will find an abundance of resources that cater to business email writing.