Business emails generally have six major parts: greeting, opening statement, body, closing statement, close, and signature.
A formal greeting looks like this:
Dear + title + last name (family name/surname)
Dear Mr. Hyde,
Use Ms. for women, unless you know she is married. In that case, use Mrs. If you’re not sure if she’s married, use Ms.:
Dear Ms. Thompson,
Dear Mrs. Jones,
If you do not know the person’s name, use the title + Sir/Madam:
If you are unsure of the person’s gender, then use the title + first and last name:
Dear Dana Brown,
Other common greetings with alternate titles that can be used for both men and women:
Dear Professor Jefferson,
Dear Dr. Jekyll,
Dear Senator Nichols,
Dear Judge Sampson,
Dear Captain Kirk,
Do not use title + first name:
x Dear Mr. Tom,
If you have a casual business relationship with the person, it’s okay to use title + first name:
Opening Statement/Small Talk
Among other things, the opening statement can be used as an introduction, a thank you, or as a way to help the person remember how you two met.
- My name is Barnaby Jones. I am the senior vice president of sales for Uptown Pharmaceuticals. I am writing to …
- Thank you for meeting with me last week to discuss …
- It was a pleasure meeting you at the conference last month.
- Hello. My name is Christina Baker. I work with Julie Fischer at Chiefland Chemicals. Ms. Fischer suggested I contact you to discuss …
The body of the email gives details of the reason you are writing. It typically includes one or more of three options. You are writing to give information or make a statement, to ask a question, or to make a request.
Information: The annual Christmas party will be held on December 20th this year.
Question: Are you planning to attend the Christmas party?
Request: When you come to the Christmas party, will you please bring potato chips?
The closing statement is a great way to bring an email to finish the email with one final thought. Here, you can confirm an appointment, submit a due date for an assignment, say thank you again, or express anticipation of a future meeting. Keep it simple.
- I will see you on Monday, June 30th at 10:00 am.
- Please send me the report by the end of the week.
- Thank you for your time.
- Thank you in advance for …
- I’m looking forward to meeting you.
Formal options are:
In a casual business relationship, you can use:
The signature is very often determined by your company. If not, a formal signature will include your full name, title, and company name:
Director of IT
IT Solutions, Inc.
Additionally, you can include your contact information:
Human Resources Manager
(214) 555 – 1212
www. triumphant .com
rwright @ triumphant .com
Put it all together
[greeting] Dear Ms. Trumple,
[opening statement/small talk] It was my great pleasure to meet with you yesterday to discuss the possibility of helping your company revamp its brand image.
[body: information/statement] As we discussed, Marketing Solutions will create a new marketing package for your company to include an updated logo with accompanying stationery and business card templates. My team will also create a new slogan for your company. Per our agreement, your first draft will be completed by Friday, September 21st, which I will submit to you via secure email. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
[closing statement] I look forward to working with you.
[close] Best Regards,
[signature] Jennifer Maxwell
Marketing Solutions, Inc.