“Perfect” English Doesn´t Mean Better Business Communication

The Myth that “Perfect”

English

=

“Perfect” Business

Communication

Business Emails Foundation Course – Part 1

This Course is for you if:

  • You have been learning English for a number of years, but feel you need to improve your written communication.
  • You want to learn how to write business emails in a consistent and professional manner.
  • You want to stop trying to guess how to write perfect business emails and get a formula for exactly how to do it!
  • You want to get a much higher response rate to the emails you are sending (regardless of the topic).

To get all the articles in this series click here to subscribe to our FREE Business Emails Foundation Course.

Perfect English Is Not What You Need

 

I may make some enemies among my fellow English Teachers by saying this, but this has to be said…

 

The idea that you need to have Perfect English in order to succeed in the English Business world is simply not true!

 

It is not true because while so many people are striving to perfect small details of their English communication they are missing out on the most important factors, which is: what makes emails most likely to be opened, read and responded to? 

 

In the end, this is what makes us most successful in business: that the people we email open, read and respond to our emails.

 

Here is a secret I want to share with you: the Open – Read – Respond sequence we are all looking for in our business communication has little to do with perfect English, perfect grammar or great vocabulary.

 

In fact, as you read through this Business Emails Foundations Course you are going to find that my advice is to put your emphasis on the EXACT OPPOSITE of looking at “small details” of your English level and start looking at something I call the “Bigger Picture”. The Bigger Picture has to do with the psychology of the English mind. What I am going to teach you is some powerful psychology that has been used by some of the most successful business people in the world to format their business emails.  This includes Steve Jobs, David Kar and Akio Toyoda (head of Toyota) among many others.

 

As an English Teacher, I have seen how Business Emails from different countries and cultures can vary radically throughout the world.  I have trained Grammy Award Winning artists, international celebrities, top executives of the largest entertainment brands (Sony and NBC), Doctors, Lawyers, Financial Specialists  – and I have read and translated their emails and I can tell you that emails differ radically from culture to culture and language to language!

 

There are some methods of communication that work extremely well in the English world and others that don´t.  An example that comes to mind is a very successful multi-millionaire Latin student I had – who signed off his emails with “besos” (in English “kisses”). It was friendly and warm in his culture and led to better business connections in Spain but was a disaster in the colder culture of Business English.

 

The minds of the English speaking American (British, Canadian, Australian – you name it) is somewhat different than what you will find in the rest of the world. I´m not here to teach you psychology (although I did study it before becoming an English teacher) – I´m here to teach you simply what works in the English world.

 

The Problem With Emails Today

 

In order to understand how to better formulate your English emails it is helpful to first understand the situation with emails in the Business World today.

Here are a few crazy facts:

  • The average business person in the English speaking world receives approximately 100 emails per day.
  • If you take all the emails you wrote in the last year and put them all together you would have more than a novel´s worth of writing.
  • The average worker in America spends 28% of their day responding to emails.

Every single time you send out an email you are going into a world that is extremely saturated. Business people are getting so many emails in their inbox each day that they have started to adapt themselves to the overload. They scan emails for the main points, look for the required action needed and appreciate short communication.

 

How Twitter Changed Business Emails

 

Years ago letters were written by pen and business correspondence was an act of artful penmanship. When the internet came and we started to send emails rather than write letters we started in the same formal fashion that we had used for many years previously. Until we didn´t have time to keep up that level of formality. Emails got shorter and more to the point.  

 

When Twitter arrived on the scene they presented the world with a challenge – say what you want to say in only 140 characters!

 

The result was that people started to think of how to say exactly what they wanted to say in very few words. This started a new trend – emails got much shorter and business communication in the English became much more to the point.

 

There Is A Method That Works

 

A Business man by the name of Guy Kawaski (Currently the Chief at Canva) was considering productivity in emails and came up with a method for writing emails that addresses the problem as he saw it:

 

Email takes too long to respond to, resulting in a lot of time being constantly poured into it

 

The result was that he created a system which is often referred to as the “5 sentence rule”.  The idea is that the best length for a business email is to be only 5 sentences long and answer 5 essential questions. The premise of this structure is that if an email is more than 5 sentences long it can make it slow to scan through for busy people – so it can seem to be wasting time. If it is less than 5 sentences it can be seen as too short and rude.

 

Of course, there are times when your emails will be longer than 5 sentences – this is not a hard rule that needs to be followed, but it does provide an excellent framework to begin to understand how to formulate your Business Emails. 

 

The result of using this method is not only will it increase your own productivity, will also greatly improve your chances of getting a reply.

 

You will spend less time writing your emails and guessing at what to say in order to get a response and it will be appreciated by the recipient of the emails – meaning that they will be more likely to reply. It will also force you to start to think in a more concise manner.

 

The philosophy here is that everything except for praise should be limited.

 

A message, even if it is important, that is too complicated is much less likely to be responded to.

 

The Five Essential Questions Your Emails Must Answer

 

In the next lessons in this Business Emails Foundation Course, we will look at exactly what you need to say in each part of your Business Emails but to end with I want to leave you with the 5 essential questions each of your emails should be answering. Keep these in mind and we will be expanding on them in Lesson 2.

 

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you want?
  3. Why are you asking the recipient of your email?
  4. Why should they do what you are asking them to do?
  5. What´s the next step?

 

Coming Up Next:

 

In part two of this Business Emails Foundation Course I will show how to best structure your emails from start to finish, providing you with a model you can follow for all your Business email correspondence.

 

It’s a simple model, one rooted in the fundamentals of what makes business communication work in your favor.

 

You can move on to part two here: Link

This is part one of the Business Emails Foundations Course. 

To get all the articles in this series click here to subscribe to our FREE Business Emails Foundation Course.

Amanda Wolf

Amanda Wolf

Amanda has been teaching Business English Online since 2009.

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