10 Tips for Writing Effective Business Emails

by Ian Nock

Email communication has a pivotal role in business communication. The following tips will help you to make your email communication efficient and effective.

1. A Meaningful subject line
People receive a huge number of emails are present in the mailboxes every day. To get your email noticed among them, it is important to give your email a subject line that grabs the attention of the receiver. The subject should also associate closely to the content of the email. When replying remember to change the subject line rather than just let the mail program add “Re:” at the front.

2. Cue it right
It is important to send the mail to the right recipients. No one wants to receive emails in their inbox that really do not concern them. You should use the cc and bcc options only where it is important. Moreover, emails should have a personalised touch to make people relate to them more.

3. Grammatically correct
It is very annoying for people to find mistakes in an email. That is why you should proofread your email after completing it to correct grammar and check spelling. The use of incorrect grammar would only reduce the reputation of your organisation and yourself in the eyes of the recipient.

4. Simple and concise
The attention span of people is limited and they want to be able to read emails quickly. Therefore, use simple and plain English as much as possible in your emails. For example use “buy” instead of “purchase”. Avoid clichés such as “last but not least” and legalese such as “in reference to” and “please contact the undersigned”.

5. Appropriate Format
Your email should not have all the text in just a single paragraph as this makes it difficult for a reader to understand your meaning. Also avoid long and complex sentences with multiple clauses. Organise the content of your message logically and include bullet points, headings and subheadings for clarity.

6. Appropriate Diction
Words like urgent and important are meant for grabbing the attention of the reader. If these words are used unnecessarily, it will only contribute to making your email seem worthless to recipients. Therefore, use urgent sparingly and resort to other such words only when absolutely necessary.

7. Know the target audience
It is important that you know whom your email is supposed to convince and target. For this purpose, you should know your audience well and must have a clear idea of what they are anticipating before you start writing them an email.

8. Use of links and attachments
The effective use of attachments and hyperlinks helps you communicate your message in an efficient manner and allows your email to be concise. Use links rather than copying and pasting large sections of text.

9. Give a deadline for reply
If a reply to your email is required, then the email should clearly state the deadline for the respondent to reply. This makes it easy for the receiver to understand what actions are intended.

10. A clear action call
If your email requires the reader to perform some action or task, then the call to action should be clear and simple. Mention it more than once, so that the reader does not miss it out.

HK English runs
Business English EmaiL Writing Courses and Workshops in Hong Kong (HK).

Register for the Business English Email Writing Course (HK) here

Plain English - Write Clear Business Emails & Documents

Plain English Writing – The Art of Communication
by Ian Nock
The purpose of writing is to communicate information effectively and, in todays busy working environment, quickly and efficiently. Today people have limited time to read emails and other business documents. By using Plain English you can ensure that your writing is clear and easily understood
Always remember the “3 C’s” :-
1. Deliver a
Clear message
2. Use
Correct grammar, vocabulary and punctuation
3. Be
  • Use short and simple words when possible e.g "buy" instead of "purchase". Remember the ideas is to deliver your message efficiently rather than impress your refer with the extent of your vocabulary.
  • Use simpler sentence structures with clear organisation to make your writing easier to read.
  • Avoid multiple included clauses so as not to confuse the reader.
  • Try to keep sentences shorter than 20 words and use paragraphs to structure your message.
  • Avoid cliches and legalese. These two are overused in business texts especially in Hong Kong. Some of these phrases do not add anything to your message and can be omitted:


at an early date
in due course
replace with the exact time or date
in the event that
prior to
please be advised that
in regard to
in terms of
for your information
thank you for your kind consideration
thank you
in the near future
soon or the exact time/date
take this opportunity
we regret to inform
as a matter of fact
we are in receipt of
we have received
last but not least
any and all
at the present time
due to the fact that
In point of fact

HKEnglish runs Business English Writing Courses in Hong Kong. You can combine Business Writing with any other topic e.g. Social English.

Apply now and start improving your English!

Ten Tips For Better Business Writing

Ten Tips For Better Business Writing

Have you ever read an email or memo you did not understand? Have you had to read and read again the same paragraph to grasp its meaning? Do you worry that others may not be able to understand what your writing is about?

The purpose of any piece of writing is to communicate information to your readers. Here are 10 top tips to make your writing clearer and more understandable.

1. Plan your writing for your readers
2. Put the most important information at the beginning
3. Use short, understandable modern words instead of long, complicated old ones
4. Use short sentences
5. Get rid of unnecessary words, information and sentences
6. Avoid using jargon and technical terms
7. Don't use clichés such as "Please be advised that"
8. Use active verbs instead of the passive voice
9. Format information in lists and use bullet points
10. Insert tables and graphs into text rather than writing lengthy descriptions.

Also know your target audience. Who is going to read your writing and why? Do you know what is important to them?
Click for more information on how to write better business English

How to Write an Excellent Business Letter

How to Write an Excellent Business Letter

By Jean Taylor
Although the layout of a letter is important and familiarity with the standard layout helps us to get down to work quickly and methodically, the actual letter we write is the most important activity. We have to say what we want to say as clearly and concisely as possible. If this is the first letter we have written on the matter, we want to start with the maximum impact. If it is one in a chain of letters, we want to recall to our correspondent's mind all that has gone before and update him/her by a further piece or pieces of information.
It is advisable before starting the letter to jot down the points to be made and to number them so they are in the best order. If the letter is to be dictated, it is particularly important to be well-organized, with all the bits of information you need to dictate. A secretary will not be impressed by an executive who does not know the surname of the correspondent, or his/her initials, or the address, and who hesitates over the dictation, searching for odd scraps of paper in pockets, handbags, etc. If dictation is to a machine, the machine has to be told everything, so that the audio-typist can get on with the letter without delay. While a secretary can perhaps look at past correspondence for missing details, the audio-typist is remote from the scene of operations and possibly in a completely different building.
The opening paragraph
The opening paragraph tends to be short and often continues the greeting begun in the salutation if we are on familiar terms with our correspondent. In more formal situations it outlines the subject matter of the letter, reinforcing the subject-heading. It may refer to earlier correspondence, and it always sets the tone of the letter. Thus a letter was intended to make the strongest possible protest about the products or services supplied by the correspondent would not begin in a light-hearted way, but would start seriously and formally. By contrast, a letter acknowledging a large order and anticipating a long and fruitful course of dealings with a customer would begin pleasantly and keep a friendly tone throughout.
The main subject matter
The body of the letter would consist of one or more paragraphs, each dealing with a topic that is an element in the subject matter to be dealt with. Paragraphs should not be too long, unless the subject matter is particularly serious and can sustain the reader's interest because of its urgent nature. If a series of important points is being made, they may be listed (a), (b), (c), etc,. Or if they have a paragraph each, the paragraphs may be numbered. It is in this part of the letter that the writer must explain what he/she feels about the matter, and what he/she feels the next step should be. If detailed recommendations are being made, they may be listed in the final paragraph so that the correspondent can deal with them item by item. Generally speaking, a final paragraph that shows the way ahead (even if the best way ahead is to do nothing) leaves your correspondent with a clear guideline for the future.
Jean Taylor More FREE sample business letters visit
Article Source:

Writing Business Emails

Writing Business Emails

By David P Smit
There's something final about an email. Once it's gone, you can never get it back. So if you are composing an important business email make sure that you have got everything right and have covered all the basics.
A business email represents you and the kind of impression you make on your business contacts. So, be sure of your email before you hit the send button. You need to keep some important things in mind while composing a business email. It will greatly affect your future prospects and how well things turn out. Yes, a simple email has so much power, so it's a wise idea to be careful before you compose your email. Here are some pointers that should keep you on the right track.

  • Formal tone - A business email is not like a business letter. Even so, you have to maintain a certain amount of formality when writing it because this is what conveys your professional attitude. With a business letter, you have to make sure that the addresses are correct and aligned and the date is in the right order. With an email, you could probably skip all these things and head straight to the important stuff. However, how you write a successful business email largely depends upon who it is addressed to.
  • Salutation - Getting the salutation right is another important facet that is common to both business letters and emails. Mixing them up is a typical faux pas that immediately lends the wrong kind of impression about you and implies that you have not done your research before writing in. In addition, if the person you are sending the email to is someone you know, starting off with Hello isn't a bad idea at all.
  • Concise - While business emails do lend themselves to a certain way of writing which is convoluted at best, avoid this tendency when writing a business email. This is because the person reading on the other end may simply not have enough patience to read through the lines. Use bullet points if necessary to convey what you have to say effectively.
  • Subject line - The subject line is not there just for decorative purposes. It's useful because it helps the receiver understand what your email is about. Moreover, it's very important because it helps the receiver search for your email from hundreds of others. In addition, the subject line will prevent them from dumping it into their trash thinking that it's spam. Keep it short and to the point.
  • Sending attachments - Sending attachments is a big no-no unless it is specifically requested. Most business people are paranoid about getting viruses in their email attachments and might straight away delete your email thinking that it could be potentially dangerous.
  • Avoiding capitals - Surely, everyone knows now that writing in capitals in an email is tantamount to shouting in the real life. If you want to emphasize something that's important, use different methods. Use italics, underline the sentence or simply use a different color. However, never use capitals.
  • Proof read - Just as you would with a business letter, go over your email a few times to make sure that everything is perfect and there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors that could portray you in a wrong light.
  • Contact details - Always include your contact details at the end of your email, most particularly your cell phone number because it will make it easier for the recipient to call you if required.
  • Think and then write - The biggest drawback with email is that it often fails to convey tones. In informal emails, we might use emoticons to suggest what we're feeling as we write something, but this can't be done in a formal email. Nevertheless, think carefully before you write something because there's no saying what the recipient might perceive in your email.
  • Email only when required - Some people don't hesitate before picking up the phone and calling but most business people prefer emails because they are non-intrusive and give them time to compose their thoughts before they can answer you. Even so, email only when it's required.

Hitting the send button on your email is a final move. Before you do it, make sure that you've ensured all these elements are in place and your email is as perfect as possible.
Some useful English language reference sites include the
online dictionary at Datasegment and the synonyms database at Synonyms360.
Article Source:

Public Speaking - How to Write a Great Speech

Public Speaking - How to Write a Great Speech

By Darrell Causey

The first step to delivering a great speech is writing a great speech. Taking the time to write a quality speech with useful content will do wonders for your confidence and delivering the speech is about confidence.
Choose Your Topic
Choosing a topic you like is probably the single most important step in writing your speech. It is very difficult to write about something in which you have no interest. So, give careful thought to the subject of your speech and choose a topic that will interest you as well as your audience.
Once you have chosen the topic of your speech, write a sentence that clearly states your topic and your position. Remember, that until you can express your subject in one sentence you're not ready to write the speech.
Develop Your Points
You will need to decide on how many points you use to support your main topic. The average number of points in a speech is three. But if your time is less than ten minutes, you may have time for only one or two points. Likewise, if your speech is longer than thirty minutes you need to add more points. The decision is up to you. But remember don't cut the closing, it is far more important than the points.
Once you have determined which points you are going to use, write a paragraph dealing with each point. You should use facts, statistics and stories to develop your content. The best speech will use a combination of stories with facts or stories with statistics. A speech with only facts and statistics will be dry and boring. Don't let that happen to you.
Create Your Opening
You want your opening to grab the audience's attention and prepare them for the message you prepared. If you have chosen your topic and developed your points putting the opening together will be easy. Your opening should state your topic, your position and your points. So your audience knows what to expect.
A great way to get people's attention is to start your opening with a question. A question can get everyone thinking an involved. Another possibility is to open with a quote that pertains to your topic or start with something controversial. Any of these will get the audience involved and keep them with you.
Create Your Closing
The most important part of your speech is the closing with the opening being a close second. Your closing should recap what you were saying in your points, have a story that relates to the audience and have a call to action.
If your speech was important then you will want to end with a call to action. The audience wants to know what they should do next and they expect you to tell them. So, tell them exactly what you want them to do and how to do it.
A powerful technique for ending your speech is to use a well crafted question followed by a moment of silence. This is a powerful technique you should work at developing.
Read It and Rewrite It
Now take your opening, your points and your closing and bring them together in one document. Then read your document and notice the words you have used. Try other words to see if you get a better result. Experiment with words until your document flows smoothly.
Finally, rewrite it. Every time you read it and rewrite it you will improve it. Do this until it flows smoothly and effortlessly for you.
Now that you have written your speech, read it and rewritten it; you must practice it. Practice it when you are in the car during your commute, practice in front of your family and friends. The more you practice your speech the better it flow and the better your gestures will become.
Follow this formula and you will have a great speech.

  • Choose an interesting topic.
  • Develop your supporting points. (body)
  • Write an exciting opening.
  • Create a compelling closing.
  • Read and rewrite.
  • Practice

I invite you to learn more about speeches and presentations at
Article Source:

Public Speaking and Business Presentation Skills Course Workshop in Hong Kong (HK) - Expert presentation coaches will propel your public speaking skills to the next level

Business Writing: Commonly Misused English Words & Vocabulary

Author: Nicole Dean

We use writing every day in business. Does your writing make you look more professional or less professional?

There are some words that are commonly used interchangeably, when in fact they have different meanings. Here are a few of the words that are frequently used incorrectly.

You're and Your:

The word "you're" is a contraction for "you are".

Correct: You're a good friend. (you are)

The word "your" is used to imply possession or ownership.

Correct: Is this yours? (possession)

Correct: I like your new car.

Sale and Sell:

The word "sale" and "sell" are not interchangeable. Sell is a verb, used to show what the noun (person, place, or thing) in the sentence is doing. "I am going to sell this."

Sale is most commonly used as a noun, such as in the sentence "There is a big sale at the mall."

Correct use of both words: "I am going to sell this shirt at a garage sale."

Too and Two:

The word "two" is the number 2.

Correct: There are two flowers in that vase.

The word "too" usually means "also".

Correct: I would like to swim, too. (I would like to swim, also.)

Prefixes Such As "Un", "In", and "Non":

Each word has only one correct prefix.

Correct: Unpleasant

Incorrect: Impleasant, nonpleasant

Correct: Irreversible

Incorrect: Inreversible, nonreversible, unreversible

A Lot and Alot:

The words "a lot" are correct. "Alot" is incorrect and there is never an occasion in which it should be used.

Good and Well:

Good is an adjective. Adjectives are used to describe nouns.

Correct: You are a good dog.

Well is an adverb. An adverb is used to describe a verb.

Correct: You are behaving well.

You wouldn't wear a dirty shirt to a business meeting, so don't let your writing make you look bad, either.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/careers-articles/business-writing-commonly-misused-words-57534.html

About the Author:
Nicole Dean is the owner of http://www.LadyPens.com . She uses Article Marketing to get free advertising on websites and in newsletters worldwide. You can use articles to get free traffic, too. Visit http://www.WebTrafficBasics.com to find out how.

Tips for writing better business documents

Communicating in English effectively is essential in today's global economy.

But conveying your ideas clearly is a skill that needs to be learnt. Too often people simply copy the style of their co-worker and especially their superiors as they think this "good English". In Hong Kong, unfortunately, this is often not the case. You see examples in your in-box every day - emails that are difficult to understand and that you need to read over and over again to get the message.

A big mistake is to pad out your writing with unnecessary words and phrases. Remember that the purpose of your writing is to communicate your ideas clearly.

Always try to reduce the number of words in your sentences and avoid lengthy phrases that can be replaced with a shorter alternative. Here are some examples:

*Instead of "prior to" use *before*

*Instead of "subsequent" use *after*

*Instead of "in order to" use *to*

*Instead of "in the event that" use *if*

*Instead of "with reference to" use *about*

*Instead of "state of the art" use *latest*

*Instead of "due to the fact that" use *since*

*Instead of "in order to" use *to*

*Instead of "not later than 2pm" use *by 2pm*

*Instead of "at the present time" use *now*

Remember about organisation as well. Use topic sentences to indicate what each paragraph is about. In addition, keep your emails short. No one likes to read an email 10 paragraphs long!

By using simple words and easily understood phrases you can improve the clarity of your message no end.

Tips for better business emails in Hong Kong

Email is perhaps the most common form of communication today between friends, between colleagues and with clients. Its convenient, fast and cheap. But how good are your emails? And how can you make them better?

Following a set of simple rules can make your emails not only more effective in their ability to communicate information, but also improve the readers impression of you. Its also easier for you on the other side of cyberspace. When you receive a well written email its so much easier to process the information. Quick question: Are there certain people whose emails you hate to open? Do you want to make sure you are not one of them? If so, read ahead.

Writing effective emails in English is a skill which, like everything else, can be learnt. I could write a book on the subject but here I am just going to introduce the four golden rules are the *4 C's* - Being *Courteous*, having a *Clear* message, being *Concise* and having *Correct* English.

*Be Courteous*

The way in which you phrase, format and write an email has an immense impression on the reader. Firstly, always ensure that you have a subject line which is relevant. Next, address your recipient with his or her proper title just as you would with a written letter. In some organisations if you are on first name terms then the name followed by a comma is considered enough but avoid this at all costs with people that you don't know well or it could be seen as impolite.

Use a font that is pleasing and for business emails and, at all costs, don't use flowery wallpaper or embed your emails with a picture of your cat! DO NOT USE ALL CAPITALS as this can be seen as shouting at the reader. Black text in 12 point Arial font on a white background is a good choice which is easily readable. A proper signature at the bottom on each business email makes it easier for your recipients to contact you, as well as giving your organisation a proper brand identity. Ask your IT guys to help you if you don't know how to do it.

Understand what CC and BCC mean and always use the BCC field for sending to groups of people. Also be very careful with the "Reply to" or "Reply to all" button so as not to unsuspectingly send your comments to unintended recipients.

The tone and style of your email should reflect the recipient. Sending an email within an organisation demands a certain level of formality, whilst this may be dispensed with between friends. At all costs avoid the use of "smilies" and excessive apostrophes within business emails.

Finally, you should always respond promptly. With snail mail letters you had several days to respond and with faxes up to a day or so. But now people expect a rapid response to their emails and in some organisations you may get a telephone call to check if you have received the email if you don't reply quickly enough.

*Be Clear*

Getting your message across clearly is very important. It involves good organisation as well as the use of easy to understand words and phrases. Avoid archaic cliches like "Last but not least" and dated, legalese phrases like "I refer to the above captioned subject" or "I am attaching herewith".

Just as if you were writing a school essay, make sure that you clearly state the reason for writing at the beginning. Also make sure that you make use of paragraphs to separate your ideas. You don't have to use topic sentences for each and every paragraph in a brief email, but it does help for longer ones.

When asking for a response replace "I look forward to your reply" with an action point such as "I would be grateful if you could reply by 5pm tonight".

*Be Concise*

When writing emails in English its always better to use uncomplicated words that are easier to understand. In addition, short sentences with simple construction are easier to read than longer ones with many included clauses. Avoid jargon if the recipient is unlikely to understand it.

Also make sure that you limit the length of each paragraph. A maximum of 60 words per paragraph is a good rule of thumb and for maximum effect, some paragraphs may even have only one sentence.

Sometimes bulleted or numbered lists can serve your purpose much better than multiple paragraphs. They can help condense a hundred words into two or three. But make sure you know how to format and use them effectively.

If you are replying to a previous email consider deleting the older conversations that are not needed. It will make your readers focus on your message and ensure that they are not focusing on the historical ones.

*Be Correct*

In order for you to get your message across clearly make sure that you use the correct vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. Always proof read your emails before you send them to check for these problems. It is time well spent and can improve the English standard of your emails no end. Reading your emails before you send them out will also ensure that your message is clear and that there are no misunderstandings.

I hope this article has been useful to you. If you would like more help with improving your email writing then why not consider a personalised one-to-one English course?

Learn how to write good English emails quickly

When the internet started everyone went "Wow! this is great". But in reality we are all spending more and more time writing and answering emails. If English is not your first language then this can be very difficult and a big headache. What's worse is that everyone expects a reply *instantly*. If you don't reply promptly the sender will either phone you or re-send the email.

Because you don't have so much time in your busy day and since everyone expects a quick response, you usually don't have time to plan or organize effectively. For some emails this is okay - a quick confirmation of a meeting for instance. But for others when you need to communicate more complex information it is important to spend a few minutes planning what you want to say.

How do you do this? Firstly, brainstorm your ideas. Spider diagrams, or mind maps as they are sometimes called, are really good for this as they use the creative, right side of your brain. Using this technique it's easy to get a lot of ideas on paper very quickly.

The next step is to select and organize your ideas from your spider diagram. Now its time to use the logical. left side of your brain. Some of the items you brainstormed will not be relevant so delete them. After this you need to organize the points so write down points you want to include in a numbered list in the order that is most logical. Read through your list and endure that the information flows correctly.

The final step is to start the writing process. This is also complicated and will be the subject of several more articles, but always remember to be *Clear*, *Concise* and *Correct.*

Start improving your English today. And if you need to practice and have expert guidance, then one-to one private tuition is your best bet.

Better Business Writing - Be Concise

Today, writing business emails, letters and reports is taking more and more of our time. And with multiple people in your organisation reading your emails you want to be sure that yours are as correct as possible.

To write effectively not only requires a good knowledge of grammar and a wide vocabulary, but also proper organisation of ideas and an understanding of tone.

The most important thing to realise is that "less is better". With less words your writing will be more easily understood. Being concise is one of the most important ways that you can improve your business writing. Here are some ways to reduce word count.

*Avoid Complicated Words*

One of the most common mistakes is to try and use longer, more complicated words and phrases when you could use a simpler alternative.

For instance:

*Replace "endevour" with "try"

*replace "terminate" with "end"

*Replace "at the present time" with "now"

*Replace "for the purpose of " with "for"

*Avoid Cliches*

Another popular error is the use of cliches. You have probably read these hundreds of times in emails/letters you have received and so copy them into your own writing. Cliches just add extra words to the text but don't add any further meaning.

Consider these:

*Replace "at an early date" with "soon"

*Replace "are in receipt of" with "received"

By using simpler words and phrases you will be certain that your reader will understand your message.

The best way to improve your business English writing is to study with a private English tutor. HKEnglish provides the highest quality one-to-one English tuition in Hong Kong, so
Contact Us Now

We use cookies to provide a better experience for you on our website. By continuing to browse this website you give your consent for cookies to be used. Please read our Cookie Policy for more details.