Opening Lines in Business Emails

Posted on May 11, 2015

By Emily Stallard

I was asked by one of our Japanese students for some different ideas on how to start business emails in English. In Japan it’s common to start with a reference to the season, which you could certainly do in English as well. In some cultures it is appreciated if you simply get to the point, but depending on your relationship it may be nice to start with some social comment or enquiry.

I would recommend keeping it positive and avoiding exclamation marks unless you are on very casual terms with the person.

A former German colleague of mine tells me that while Germans often like to get down to business quickly, in a business-social email a reference to the last time you spoke is appreciated, something like “I hear the project you mentioned last month went successfully”.

Some more ideas include:

Referencing the last time you met
“It was good to see you on Monday.”
“It was great catching up with you recently.”
“It was a pleasure to see you in person last week.” (A more formal version of the above)
“I enjoyed our conversation at the conference last month.”

Expressing thanks for something they have done for you
Thanks for your email.”
“Thanks for your feedback.”
“Thank you very much for the information you sent.”
“Thanks very much for inviting me to connect on Linked In.”

Conveying your general good feeling towards their wellbeing
“I hope you are well.”
“I hope all is well and you are enjoying the sunny weather we have been having.”
“I trust you and your colleagues are all fine.” (“I trust” is more formal)
“I hope that you enjoyed your recent break.”

Do you have any more ideas? Let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter!

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