TEST YOUR EMAIL WRITING SKILLS

We hope you are enjoying your Business Communication course with us. Scroll

down to find out how many common email mistakes you correctly identified.

The Sample Email

The sample email from your Enhance Education Business Communications folder contains twelve common mistakes that English second language users (and many native English speakers) make when writing business emails at work. How many did you correctly identify?

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Dear Mr. Mike:

I’m delighted to announce that EE is launching a series of ten online Professional Communication workshops designed for working professionals who want to improve their use of English & develop effective business communication skills in areas including email writing, presentations, networking, customer service and meetings. These exclusive workshops are available for RM50pax per workshop. They will run on Wednesday & Thursday evenings, beginning at the end of September, so register soon to avoid missing out. If you would like any further info, just give me a bell or visit the EE website.

Peace, J-Dog X0X0

Stressed Man

1. VAGUE SUBJECT LINE

"GREETINGS FROM ENHANCE EDUCATION!"

It’s easy to overlook the importance of a well-written subject line, but with busy people receiving many emails per day, writing an email with a vague subject line that doesn’t sum up the gist of your message is likely to be left unread, irritate the recipient or even get mistaken for spam.

Using all capital letters in a subject line is also considered bad practice. Not only does it seem like the sender is shouting, it can also trigger spam filters and increase the chance that your email will be sent straight to the spam bin.

2. INCORRECT SALUTATION

"Dear Mr Mike:"

When deciding which salutation to use, you should consider how well you know the person you're writing to. This will determine how you start your email. It's important to use a formal and professional greeting when you don't know your letter or email recipient well.

If you are writing to someone in a professional capacity that you have known personally for many years, it is appropriate to use only their first name:

  • Dear Cindy / Hi Fairuz / Hello Xiao Huang

If you don't know the person well, it is best to use Mr., Ms., or Dr. as an followed by their last (family) name.

 

  • Dear Mr./Ms. Lastname (For example: Dear Mr. Goodman / Dear Ms. Riley)

  • Dear Mr./Ms. Firstname Lastname (For example: Dear Mr. Alan Partridge / Dear Ms. Melissa George)

When you have a name but are unsure of the gender of the person you are writing to, it is acceptable to leave out the honorific, and use the first and last names alone.

  • Dear Caitlyn Jenner

  • Dear Alex Horne

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you just can't find a name to address your letter to. In this case, you have a variety options. The more information you have about where you are sending the letter, the better. For example, the human resources department of the company, or the manager of the department related to your inquiry. This way, you can make a more targeted choice when selecting your greeting.

  • Dear Jobtitle (For example: Dear Hiring Manager / Dear Product Development Manager

  • Dear Department team (For example: Dear Recruitment Team)

  • Dear Sir/Madam (This is outdated, so try to avoid)

3. CONFUSING ACRONYMS

"EE is launching / FYI / "

Some people argue that using acronyms helps to keep emails concise and efficient. Acronyms such as ASAP, WFH (working from home) and OOO (out of office) have become commonplace in business writing, however they are often overused, can cause confusion and can slow down or even prevent the reader from understanding your message clearly. 

Many acronyms are industry specific, and are not widely understood. It's usually better to avoid using acronyms altogether, unless you are using it multiple times. It is perfectly acceptable, for example, to mention the Ministry of Education (MoE) in an email and then just use the acronym MoE elsewhere.

Work Colleagues

4. BADLY FORMATTED LIST

"... in areas including email writing, presentations, networking, customer service and meetings."

People who spend a lot of time reading emails on a computer screen tend to glance at the text and skip large portions of it. Using bullet points and numbered lists will help keep the reader's attention, while making your emails easier to read and ensuring that the key points are noticed.

When listing information, a list should be introduced with a colon and, where possible, contain matching verbs or nouns.

To increase productivity, we will need to do the following:

  • build a new factory

  • invest in R&D

  • reduce staffing levels

  • purchase new machinery

5. ABBREVIATIONS

"... ietings."

People who spend a lot of time reading emails on a computer screen tend to glance at the text and skip large portions of it. Using bullet points and numbered lists will help keep the reader's attention, while making your emails easier to read and ensuring that the key points are noticed.

When listing information, a list should be introduced with a colon and, where possible, contain matching verbs or nouns.

To increase productivity, we will need to do the following:

  • build a new factory

  • invest in R&D

  • reduce staffing levels

  • purchase new machinery

An improved version

With all the issues correctly identified and amended, let's have a look at the new, improved version...

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Dear Mr. Rotchertz,

 

I’m delighted to inform you that Enhance Education (EE) is launching a series of online Professional Communication workshops designed for working professionals who want to improve their use of English & develop effective business communication skills.

 

The topics we are covering are as follows:

  • Effective email writing

  • Powerful presentations

  • Successful networking

  • Professional customer service

  • Impactful meeting skills

 

These exclusive workshops are available for only RM50 per person per workshop. They will run on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30 – 9pm, starting on September 29.

 

Places are limited so please register soon to secure your place. If you would like any further details, please contact me on +604-890 3390 or visit our website: www.enhance-education.com

 

Yours sincerely,

 

John Thomas