How to Start an Email with 5 Professional Greetings

KaylaMatthews
Jun 12, 2019 · 4 min read

When you’re sending a business email, you never get a second chance to make a good impression. This especially holds true when you’re emailing a potential client or employer for the first time. Obviously, you want to follow sound email etiquette, and part of this includes opening your email with a professional greeting.

Fortunately, etiquette exists to oil the gears of correspondence, not make expressing yourself more difficult. It’s simple to write a professional email greeting by following this simple guide. Here’s how to start an email to make the best possible impression on the recipient of your correspondence.

1. Select an Appropriate Salutation

The most important step in writing a professional greeting is selecting the right one. Here are five, including their most appropriate uses:

  • Hi or Hey. This informal yet professional greeting is the perfect way to start an email consisting of interoffice correspondence among coworkers you know on a first name basis. It’s appropriate for anyone from the receptionist to the CEO, and it creates feelings of trust, inclusion, and teamwork. Such a greeting also is appropriate for clients with whom you share a close, friendly relationship.
  • Hello. Slightly more formal, this greeting is appropriate for most client contact. Furthermore, it’s perfect for reaching out to those in outside firms yet similar industries when approaching them to discuss partnering on certain projects. It also can be used in email cover letters for most tech and business job applications.
  • Dear. This greeting sounds stiff and overly formal in much business correspondence. It is, however, appropriate when reaching out to international clients who speak English as a second language as well as for certain formal academic correspondences.
  • Good (morning, afternoon). This greeting works well when emailing a group of individuals. It’s formal enough for both interoffice and client correspondence.
  • Greetings. Another greeting appropriate for group correspondence. Keep your audience in mind and punctuate with a comma, not an exclamation mark, unless you want to sound as perky as a chipmunk on a sugar high.

2. Begin With a Bit of Pleasantry

In most correspondence, it’s appropriate to begin with pleasantries such as, “I hope you had a nice weekend!” If you know someone returned from Paris yesterday, go ahead and say, “I hope you had a lovely trip,” or ask, “How was Paris? I hope you had a wonderful time,” etc.

The exception to this rule is when you are corresponding with unknown individuals, such as when sending sales emails. Coming off as overly familiar reminds the reader of an shady used car salesperson.

3. Get to the Point Quickly

In today’s busy world, no matter how carefully you craft an email, people lack adequate time to read correspondence the length of the complete works of Shakespeare. Avoid wasting the reader’s time by keeping email correspondence short. And act judiciously when marking an email as urgent — unless it’s vital the recipient answer it right now, regular urgency is fine.

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4. Phrase Your Words Carefully

Knowing how to write clearly matters as much as how to start an email. Remember, the reader can misinterpret the tone of written correspondence easily, and something you may mean as a joke can come off as offensive. Phrase your words carefully, and consider using a preset template for important emails.

5. Spell and Grammar Check

Poor spelling and grammar make you look sloppy and haphazard. Plus, if you’re applying for a job, sending a cover letter with multiple typos is a quick way for your application to end up in the dreaded circular file. Use a free extension such as Grammarly to help catch careless errors.

6. Take a Pass on These Greetings

It’s important to know how not to start an email as well. In general, avoid overly informal phrases like, “Yo, man, wassup?” in professional correspondence.

Likewise, greetings such as “dear hiring manager,” and, “to whom it may concern,” sound lazy. Make every effort to find out the proper name and title of your recipient by making a quick phone call.

How to Start a Professional Email Made Easy

It’s not difficult to phrase a professional email greeting, so why start your work correspondence in a careless manner any longer? Simply follow the tips above, and you’ll elevate your career email game.

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Originally published at Productivity Theory.

KaylaMatthews

Written by

tech and productivity writer. bylines: @venturebeat, @makeuseof, @motherboard, @theweek, @technobuffalo, @inc and others.

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