Struggling to find the right words to say for a formal email? Sometimes, you need to write a formal email for certain situations and interactions. It’s important that you use a professional tone and format when sending these emails. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what a formal email is, when to use it, and how to structure it. By following a few simple guidelines, you’ll be ready to send your next email. 

What is a formal email? 

A formal email is where you use professional language, traditional greetings and a structured format in an email for a professional individual or an important subject. Using a formal email also signals a sign of respect when contacting someone that you don’t know personally or don’t contact frequently. Formal emails are great and often the default email for work-related situations and communications as they ensure that your message will be professional and be taken as such. 

When to write a formal email? 

Before you write your email, you need to figure out two main things. Audience and the reason for email are the two most important considerations before crafting the email.

Audience 

Who you are sending the email to dictates the language and tone of your message. A formal email is appropriate when you’re communicating with colleagues, clients, or customers of your business. They are also useful when speaking with figures of authority or individuals that you would like to show respect to. The best practice is to use a formal email when communicating with someone whom you don’t regularly speak with. Or, if you’re ever unsure whether to use a formal or informal email, go with the formal one. 

Reason for Contact 

Consider your reason for emailing someone. Are you simply checking in? Do you have a request? Are you introducing yourself? These situations require a formal email with proper formatting and introductions. If you’re responding to an email thread where you’ve already started the conversation previously, you can follow a more informal tone. 

How to Write a Formal Email 

1. The Subject Line 

A formal email is not the time to experiment with different subject lines or leave them blank entirely. Since the subject line is the first thing that your receipt is going to read, make sure to keep it simple and to the point.  If your email is regarding a project update, make the subject line “X Project Update”. Make sure the subject line says exactly what the email is going to be about. 

2. The Greeting 

Next is the greeting. With formal emails, it’s important to avoid using something casual such as “Hey”. Here’s a list of formal greetings that are appropriate 

  • Hello [insert name]
  • Good morning/afternoon/evening [insert name]
  • Dear [insert name]
  • Hi [insert name]

If you don’t know the recipient’s name, you can use a variation of “To whom it may concern” although we recommend researching who you’re going to be contacting and finding the person’s name. 

3. The Body  

Now that you’ve crafted your subject line and the greeting, it’s time to think about the bulk of the email – the body. This is where you’ll be conveying your message and what the receipt will focus on the most. Try to keep your message concise and limit it to a few sentences. If you have a list of objectives to discuss, use bullet points and a list format rather than multiple ongoing sentences. Here’s a template that you can use for your next formal email: 

Subject [Simple and clear subject line] 

Hello [Recipient name], 

My name is [your name] and I’m [title with relation/relevance to recipient]. I’m contacting you regarding [reason for contact].  

[Provide further information about the reason for contact and how it relates to the receipt] 

Thank you for your time and I’m looking forward to hearing back. 

Regards, 

[Signature] 

[Contact information] 

4. The Signature 

Your signature and final few lines should thank the receipt for taking the time to read your message. It should reference the next interaction whether it’s a simple “I’m looking forward to hearing back” or “Are you available at [time] for us to discuss this further?” Sign the email off with your name and provide contact details if necessary. Here’s a list of formal closing that you can use: 

  • Regards 
  • Best 
  • Sincerely 
  • Take care 

And you’re ready! 

With these tips and templates, you’re ready to send your next formal email. Remember to keep your emails concise and to the point. With a solid subject line and greeting, you can get straight to the point in your message body. And lastly, be sure to proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes! 

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