In the 21st century the most common form of communication is almost certainly e-mail - a means of sending and receiving messages - internally, nationally, or internationally.
E-mail is relatively low in cost and does not require a trained operator. It is also fast, relatively reliable, and messages can be sent or picked up anywhere in the world, and stored in the mailbox until they are retrieved. This can be particularly advantageous for users who are communicating across international time zones as messages can be read at any time when the receiver is ready.
Once you have established a relationship - or some form of communication - with a client or business associate, correspondence often becomes less formal. E-mail is typically shorter and more relaxed way of sending messages; it is particularly practical if you do not want to call long distance because of a language barrier or the expense.
E-mail letters are less formal in style than ordinary business letters.
E-mails do not necessarily contain all the elements important for business letters. So e-mails are usually shorter and it takes less time to compile and send them. The e-mail language is much closer to spoken English than traditional business correspondence style. But the point is the e-mail sender has a free hand to choose the style and form of his message.
Information about the sender (addresser) and the receiver (addressee) appears at the top in special frame - so the writer doesn't have to use traditional greetings. Mr. Black,Dear Peter, Peter are all acceptable ways of starting an e-mail. It is very easy to sound abrupt in an e-mail, so a short greeting can help to lighten the tone.
As e-mails are designed for speed, they usually avoid the formal expressions used in letters, and people very often do not write in complete or grammatically correct sentences using abbreviations and industry jargon.
E-mails usually contain fewer fixed expressions and are less formal than business letters. Nevertheless it is still very helpful for clarity if they are divided into paragraphs. Your message should be short to fit on one screen, whenever possible, thus keeping all important information visible at once. But donít be so brief that your meaning is lost or your approach seems unprofessional. Be sure your message is easy to answer. Ask questions that can be given a one-word response, but donít give lengthy instructions.
You can end your e-mail with:
∑ Best wishes
∑ All best wishes
∑ Best regards
To people you know well, you can end with:
∑ All the best
People often sign e-mail with their first name.
Traditional business letter
5 Hill St., Liverpool
Sender's and receiver's electronic addresses as well as date and subject heading are stated in special computer frames
Ouf ref. GF\323f1
Your ref. 1-T/11d5
January 19, 2003
COOLGAS CO., LTD
23 Ground Road, Plymouth
Dear Mr. White
We have received your letter dated January 11.
We appreciate your requesting information on our company. You will find our companyís profile enclosed herewith. Should you still have questions we could clarify them in person at the upcoming International Fair in Hamburg.
Looking forward to your reply.
Thank you for your e-mail asking for information on our company. I am sending you our companyís profile. We are ready to answer all your possible questions if any. We can meet at upcoming International Fair in Hamburg.
Chief Executive Officer
There are no universally accepted rules for writing e-mail, but there are some useful guidelines:
The reason why it is useful
Create a subject line with impact.
It is more likely that someone will read your e-mail.
Write short sentences.
You donít need complex grammar or punctuation.
Keep paragraphs short.
Thereís less chance the reader will miss anything.
Donít always trust your spell check.
It canít tell the difference between your and youíre, or theirsand thereís!
Put your signature on the message.
It saves people scrolling down to see if thereís more text.
Proofread the message before sending it.
It creates a more professional image if there are no silly errors.
Use headings, bullets and numbering.
These will guide the reader and make the message easier to grasp.
Do not mention any confidential or secret information.
E-mails are not safe from intruders and hackers and can be opened by some special services.
With a new partner be rather formal.
You canít abandon the basic principles of business writing. Only gradually you may turn to more friendly informal style.
Abbreviations are often used to save time. Here are some of them: