When I wrote a post on email etiquette, one reader, Juan, left a comment to ask for some advice (I’ve changed his punctuation a bit for clarity’s sake):
I just discovered your page and I love it. Please teach me before we sign off the mail with “warm regards” etc ,we also always using some phrasal sentences such as “please look into this matter” or “thank you in advance”, “I would be very appreciate on your help in this matter”, etc. Could you please write some more like those in different contents of mails?
What Juan’s describing here are stock phrases. If you write a lot of emails, you’ll often find yourself facing the same sorts of situations again and again, and you’ll often see stock phrases used in business emails to convey a professional, helpful and friendly tone. I agree with Juan that it can definitely help to have some ready-crafted sentences on hand for including in your emails – either just keeping them in mind, or creating a document on your computer to hold them ready for copy-and-pasting.
The trick is to make them heart-felt rather than copied-and-pasted. There are a few phrases which I see constantly in emails from huge technical support firms, government offices and similar organisations: used carelessly, they can feel distancing or insincere.
I’ve listed some options below for different types of email situations, such as:
- When you’re initiating email contact with someone new
- When you’ve answered someone’s question
- When you’re asking the recipient to take some action
- When you need a response (but not necessarily any action taking)
- When you’ve heard nothing back and want to chase up a reply
Unless your boss is particularly uptight, why not try going with the more informal ones? I work in a small technical support team who have a great reputation for being friendly, helpful and accessible – in part, because we use everyday language and remember that we’re writing to people, not just trying to knock another email out of the queue. Here’s some examples you might want to use, or modify, for your own email messages … feel free to bookmark the page, or print it out for easy reference.
When you’re initiating email contact with someone new
“Might I take a moment of your time…” (to begin the email)
“Please may I introduce myself…” (to begin the email)
“Many thanks again for your time.” (to end the email)
“I’m just emailing to ask…” (to begin the email)
“I’m a friend of Bob’s…” (to begin the email)
“Just let me know if you have any questions.” (to end the email)
“Drop me an email, or give me a ring, if you want any more information.” (to end the email)
When you’ve answered someone’s question(s)
“I trust the above resolves your queries. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.”
“I know that’s a lot to take in, so let me know if anything I’ve said doesn’t make sense.”
“Hope the above helps, but email again if you’re still having any difficulties.”
When you’re asking the recipient to take some action
“I would appreciate your help in this matter.”
“Could you look into this?”
“Would you mind checking it out for me?”
“Thanks in advance.”
“Can you get back to me once you’ve had a chance to investigate?”
“I’d love to hear your advice on this one.”
When you need a response (but not necessarily any action taking)
“I await a response at your earliest convenience.”
“Can you drop me a quick word so I know you’ve received this?”
“Look forward to hearing from you.”
When you’ve heard nothing back and want to chase up a reply
“In reference to my email of June 20th …”
“Just wondered if you got my email (June 20th)?”
“When you get a moment, could you drop me a line about my last email?”
Do you have any favourite stock phrases that you use in your work emails? Add yours in the comments!