S1E1: Introduction to Emails Transcript

S1E1: Introduction to Emails Transcript

Hi, I’m Tom and I’m one of the teachers here at Intrepid English. Welcome to the Writing Emails audio course. Our goal is to help you feel more confident about producing and conceiving professional business emails. In this first episode I will introduce you to the course and give you two examples outlining what makes a good email.

Before we start, there’s some vocabulary we need to go through…

  • Offence (noun) annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself.
  • Appropriate (adj) suitable or proper in the circumstances.
  • Vague (adj) of uncertain, indefinite, or unclear character or meaning.
  • Unspecific (adj) not specific; vague.
  • Courteous (adj) polite, respectful, or considerate in manner.
  • Imperative (adj) of vital importance; crucial.

Email is one of the most important means of communication in the world of business. It’s how we check in with our colleagues, set up meetings, send important work and documents to clients.

When you are writing in a business context you must check your emails for mistakes. Here is a tip about how best to deal with this if you’re struggling: Copy your email and paste it into a Word document (make sure the language is set to English UK  US). The document will examine your email for you and offer red lines under words that are spelt wrong and blue lines under words that are grammatically incorrect.

Please note that Word isn’t always correct. When it comes to the grammatical notes, read them carefully and decide if it sounds right to you.

Now, to begin, I would like you to look at the two examples. One is an example of how you shouldn’t write an email when the other shows you how to write a business email. Listen to the emails and see if you can decide which is which.

Here’s the first example…

TO: m.knight@gmail.com

FROM: t.stew@hotmail.com

SUBJECT: Meeting

DATE: 14/08/2020

Dear sir, i wanna know if youre free to meet on Tuesday at 3pm so we can discuss. let me know when works. bye bye, T.

What do you think? (Pause) This email is informal and has a lot of grammatical and spelling errors. Therefore, it is an example of how not to write a business email.

Here are some things that were wrong with the email:

  1. The email does not contain any spacing which makes it hard to read and understand. Your email must be spaced in an appropriate, easy-to-read fashion which clearly states why you are emailing.
  2. The email uses ‘Dear Sir’. Unless you know the gender of the person you are writing to, it is best to use gender-neutral language to avoid offense and confusion.
  3. The email uses the lower case (i) which is incorrect. Always use a capital I.
  4. The email uses the colloquial term ‘wanna’ which is used informally. As we discussed, it is better to be professional in your business emails, so the appropriate term to use would be ‘want to’.
  5. The email does not use an apostrophe with the contraction (you’re) which shows that the email contains grammatical errors.
  6. The email is vague and unspecific. Its purpose is to set up a meeting, which means the sender must explain the purpose of the meeting and find a time to have it. The email suggests a specific time, but only says they would like to meet ‘so we can discuss’. Without a specific topic, the reader is left wondering “what will we discuss?”
  7. The email doesn’t use capital letters at the beginning of each sentence which is grammatically incorrect.
  8. The email concludes with an informal greeting ‘bye bye’. This is not an appropriate way to finish an email.

Here’s the second example…

TO: m.knight@gmail.com

FROM: t.stew@hotmail.com

SUBJECT: Hastings Project Meeting

DATE: 14/08/2020

Dear Mr. Knight,

I hope you’re well.

I am writing to inquire whether you are available on Tuesday 1st September at 3pm to discuss The Hastings Project?

I would very much appreciate you letting me know if this date works.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards,

T

Here are some things that are right about the email:

  1. The email is addressed to a specific person ‘Mr. Knight’. Sometimes, if you do a little research, you will find the name of the person you are writing to (therefore bypassing generic terms such as ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’). Another gender-neutral term is ‘Mx’ spent m-x.
  2. The email starts with a friendly and courteous but professional sentence ‘I hope you’re well.’ You don’t have to do this but you may consider doing it from time-to-time, it will help show a bit of personality.
  3. The email succeeds in its aim (which was to suggest a time to meet and explain the purpose of the meeting). The email states a time ‘Tuesday 1st September, 3pm’ and the purpose of the meeting ‘The Hastings Project). This is further explained in the email subject ‘Hastings Project Meeting’ when in the previous email it simply said ‘Meeting’.
  4. The email concludes appropriately with ‘Kind regards’.
  5. The email is professional and friendly overall. For example, ‘I would very much appreciate’, ‘thank you in advance’ etc’.
  6. The email uses grammar and punctuation correctly.

Well there you have it.

This course won’t just teach you the do’s and don’ts of business email writing. You will learn how to write strong, interesting emails that are friendly and professional in tone. You will learn how to show your personality and leave your reader feeling positive and even excited about doing business with you. Head over to the second episode where I’ll be talking about tone and register.