a blog by Liz Johnston… just a 20-something PR girl trying to find her way

The Art of Business Email

Email – one of the most essential tools one can have. At my internship, much of  my day is spent on email and in the business world, there is a real art to writing a good email. Much of public relations is communication with different persons, trying to get them to do something for you. An email has to be persuasive but firm; short but informative; serious but friendly. Even harder to portray when my email signature states I’m an intern.

In the recent weeks,  I have been helping to coordinate a series of events for a client in the Bay Area. For me, the trouble has come in the fact that I am at the bottom of the totem pole. I don’t know all the ins and outs of the client, their history, and I am still learning how my internship company operates. I was having a hard time expressing my professionalism and honestly, my confidence in acting like a professional, in emails to different vendors.

However, I can act the part. And this is where the artistry come in.

It’s a hard balance to find, acting like a professional who knows what she is doing, but also an intern who is still learning. Too much of one and I could be in trouble. I make mistakes. I make a fool out of myself on occasion, who doesn’t? But what I have found to be important, and possibly the most difficult, is creating a person relationship via an Internet connection.

I always try and start off with a friendly greeting like “I hope you had a great weekend!” or “Happy Friday!” but then immediately get to the point of the email. I find it’s important to get down to business quickly, no one likes long, drown out emails. I try and always make reference to past conversations as a reminder of the current situation and thank them for any help they have provided. They key, however, be ok with making mistakes. Being too worried about it only makes me make more mistakes and the truth is, people, professionals, all understand. Trust me, in only three weeks I have made some stupid email mistakes, but none of them have hurt my internship and future professional career one bit.

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Comments on: "The Art of Business Email" (2)

  1. Good work, Liz. You are right, of course. Writing an excellent email can be a real challenge – but it’s one of those key skills for your industry!

    ~J

  2. You’re already doing a great job as an intern because you realize the importance of email communications. Now that fewer people schedule meetings or pick up the phone, email is how we make and keep important connections. Email should be short, sweet and get right to the point. Mistakes are inevitable and we all make them – it’s just how we smooth them over that matters.

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