How do you know if you include a friendly comment at the beginning of a business email? You know, anyone who wishes readers a good day today or congratulates their home team on a football win. The beginning of your email sets the tone for your message, so you want it to be right.
Writing at work requires us to find out when we need greetings. Now that so much work is being done remotely, it’s more important than ever to have relationships on paper. Your greeting is your digital smile and your opening comment is your virtual handshake. These polite gestures are essential for some people – ignore them at your own risk. “Hope you had a great day” will never win you a Pulitzer Prize, but it humanizes your interactions with many readers. Customizing our communications can create powerful connections.
When is it appropriate to include an opening comment
If your email is the first in the exchange, then Adding a note might be the right move. For example, in your initial email to a client or someone you don’t know well, you might include a cheery greeting about the season or a vanilla-like theme.
But if you write “Hi Harold, I hope you had a great day. Will that report be ready by 5:00?” and get a reply: “Hi, I hope you have a great day, Fred. I’ll be ready by 1:00.” A reply is enough, “Hi, the report will be ready at 1:00.”
Write An additional form of greeting may be an appropriate sign of respect when writing to a client or higher-ranking person.
If you’ve communicated with this person before and they’re always smiling, match their style with an amiable statement.
When to omit the greeting
If the message is urgent, go straight to the point. If the pipeline needs to stop, say it on the first line, don’t comment on the weather.
If you are in an email exchange, treat it as a conversation.
If you’re writing to someone who never provides friendly comments, be consistent with their style.
When considering adding a greeting, keep the reader’s personality in mind. We all want to be treated politely, but some of us care more about social comments than others. Many people like social tricks to break the ice in business emails. I call this group “Have a nice day”. These people will be hesitant for a lack of friendly comments, and if you don’t include one, they may be less open to your message.
But another group of readers has zero interest in whether you want them to comment. good day. They don’t even care if they had a good day. They just want you to state your point and make your request or promise at the top of your email so they can jump back to the hundreds of other tasks that need their attention. For these people, the digital greeting is a flashback in their urge to find the essentials of an email. I call this group, which usually includes CEOs and entrepreneurs, straight people.
Roland Crane, former CEO and current leader of CEO Peer-Advisory Groups, points out, “A lot of CEOs just want you to get straight to the point. Start with the actions you need them to take. Some CEOs may be born with Good day people, but their job forces them to be a straight-forward person.
If you are writing a letter to the top management of a company, you probably know what type of person they are. If they Always say hi to you, please respond kindly. If they always get straight to the point, then don’t say those sweet words.
You don’t always know if your reader is a happy person or a Straightforward people. Also, people change. People who cherish greetings one day may be under pressure another day and want you to cut to the chase.
Let your previous communication with the individual be you guide, and remember that when in doubt, courtesy is king. At worst, busy readers will fly by your greetings while looking for your key points.