How to Write a Professional Email

Waiting for that promotion? Fear not. Here’s how you write the most professional emails possible in order to wow your boss and colleagues. Efficiency and clarity are key.


Cc means “courtesy copy.” This means that whoever is Cc’d is not the point person or the person from whom you expect a response. Remember that this can send a message in and of itself.

Bcc means “blind courtesy copy.” The contact will not know that you’ve also coped these recipients. Use this if you have a long list of addressees as a courtesy so they do not all show up in the body of the email, or if you are addressing someone and need to quietly put another recipient “in the know.”

The Subject Line

Should not include one word phrases like “Help” or “Issue.” Your email will immediately be glossed over. Instead include a directive, or action verb, like: “Need to Publish Last Quarter’s Report.” This will help the recipient file it appropriately.

Subject lines should be succinct and should NOT be complete sentences. No periods allowed. Also, update the subject line to avoid it looking like this: “Re:Re:Re: Next Thursday’s Meeting”

The Body

Frontload your information. Get exactly to the point and make the rest skimmable. This means using bullets and plenty of white space so the viewer can cognitively organize information.

End with important deadlines or directives.

Remembering audience, message, and tone

Think about exactly what you want from your audience before constructing your message. Is there going to be pushback? Then don’t frontload. Begin with an objective and end with the action. This provides justification for the necessary steps to be taken.

Remember to consider audience needs, wants, and perceptions when constructing your message. How do they perceive YOU? Do you have credibility or must you earn it? How will you do that?

Tone is defined as the speaker’s attitude toward the subject itself. You want to be professional but not too formal. Too much formality makes you sound detached or insincere. It’s okay to be likable.

Saying too much

Avoid unnecessary words like “due to the fact”, and  “as a result of” rather than saying “because.” Another example is “in regards to” when you can just say “about.” Simple is better.

And remember….when you get that raise, you should still be using coupons from 🙂