Email and other online communication media have eased our communication needs even as they have created new etiquette issues to contend with. One of the many questions that I have heard asked is how to communicate with a total stranger by email. How do you address them , for example? which level and tone of language do you use? How do you initiate the conversation or what title do you use to address the other person? Yet in our everyday technologically-enhanced world the need to contact a complete stranger arises more than one time. This article underlines the five steps that you will need to introduce yourself to a total stranger through email:
Step 1: Address your recipient properly
If the person is a new acquaintance or a person of the same rank as you, you should use the person’s first name. However, if you are addressing a potential employer or a business partner, you may want to use the person’s formal title followed by both of his names. For example if addressing an acquaintance of the same rank you may use, “hi Brian”. However for a formal person you would you use “Dear Mr/Dr/ William Lawrence”
Addressing your email recipient as “To whom it may concern” or “dear all” is simply not the best way to go about it, and should be completely avoided. If in doubt as to the person’s title, a simple “Dear Mr/Mrs” is often preferable.
Step 2: offer your full name
After the proper salutation in the email, you should offer your complete name by stating your first name first, followed by your last or surname. e.g. “My name is Patrick Kruger….” It is proper protocol to offer your name even if you may think that the recipient knows you. This will clear out any lingering doubts as well as offer the recipient a chance to record your name in full in his/her contact list.
Step 3: Provide some Basic background information about yourself.
Before you start stating the reason for your email or getting into other pertinent details, make sure you provide some basic information about yourself. This is the point at which if you are addressing a potential employer, you would like to briefly state your qualifications. If you are addressing an acquaintance, this basic information serves as an icebreaker for more detailed information to follow.
Step 4: State your Point
Use simple, precise and easy language to go direct to the main purpose why you are addressing the email to that person in particular. Leave out unnecessary clutter in your message.
Step 5: use the correct protocol and etiquette
Try to use the proper language befitting your email recipient. If you are addressing a potential employer or the managing director of your company for example, formal language is the way to address them. It doesn’t matter whether your new workmate uses personal language with them, as long as you do not personally know your recipient, keep it formal.
Step 6: Double Check for grammar and typos before you hit send
A poorly written email can create a negative impression with your recipient and break the whole of your aspirations. Make sure you have revised and edited it before hitting the send button. Alternatively, you can have a friend go over it to point out mistakes you could have skipped
If you are one of those people who frequently find themselves in need of communicating with strangers over the email. I believe these tips will go a long way in easing the task for you.
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