For too many people, writing emails takes far too much time. Most of that time is spent re-reading your introduction and sign off, trying to decide if it is too formal, or informal, or boring, or not professional enough.
Fortunately, I’m here to help you write your emails in much less time.
Just like when you need to leave a voicemail, once you know the rules it becomes very simple.
Intros for Emailing a Coworker
The rules are different for people you already know, versus people you haven’t met yet. In general, your colleagues will communicate informally for day-to-day needs.
Email Greetings for Your Coworkers
Emailing coworkers should be the easiest thing you do all day – as long as the topic of the email isn’t something sensitive.
- Hi [First Name],
- Hey [First Name],
- Good morning,
- Hi there,
- Hi everyone, (For sending an email to a group of coworkers)
- [First Name],
When you send an email to a colleague, you can keep the same level of formality you use with that person over the phone or face to face. When in doubt, all you need to use is their first name and a comma.
Email Opening Lines
The opening line to other colleagues you know could be different depending on many different factors. If you have a good working relationship or work in the same company, you might not need an opening line besides the reason you’re emailing them.
If you don’t know this industry professional very well, you can use a polite opener:
- I hope you had a good weekend. (Appropriate on Mondays and Tuesdays)
- I hope you’re having a good week. (Appropriate Tuesdays through Thursdays)
- I hope you’ve had a good week. (Appropriate on Fridays)
Intros for Emailing a Stranger (“Cold” Emailing)
If you’re emailing a stranger and hoping for a response, there are a few things NOT to do in your opening lines.
Things to Avoid in Your Cold Email Greetings
- [First Name] [Last Name],
- Mr/Mrs/Ms [Last Name],
- To Whom It May Concern,
The business world is now okay with talking to other professionals on a first-name basis. But even if you prefer to stay on the formal side, the above greetings will cause recipients to ignore your entire email… Because it’s what they expect to see on mass emails from robots, scams, or sales gimmicks.
We already have so much junk mail to deal with, so it’s best to sound like a “real” person, not a robot.
Keep it simple with these options:
For most companies, a more relaxed greeting is perfect.
- Hello [First Name],
For a few conservative industries — government organizations, law offices, or corporate finance — you can use the most traditional option.
- Dear [First Name],
Even in more formal industries, I still recommend that you use the recipient’s first name.
The Opening Line of Your Email
Once the recipient has made it past the greeting, you need to have an opening line that will grab their attention. Remember that most professionals are overwhelmed with emails.
Talk About Them
Most people love talking about themselves — or receiving compliments! So open your email with details about the work they’ve done. If you make it specific, they will know you aren’t just sending the same copy-and-paste email to 50 other people:
- I just saw your post on the Tina Teaches English blog about how English learners can use extensive reading to improve their writing skills.
- Your work in the Social Media Tulsa group is great, and gives me some ideas for my own projects.
- I learned so much from the blog about email intros you posted last week.
- I saw that you’re on the conference planning team for Social Media Tulsa.
- Your business’s mission statement, “Their Statement Here,” is great.
If you’re interviewing for jobs as a non-native English speaker, check out my book (on pre-order!) 8 Steps for Interview Prep: How English Learners Can Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” and Other Questions.
Disclosure: All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that — at no additional cost to you — I may earn a small commission on if you click to purchase.